We may not be able to stop the Cheesepocalypse, but while we’re waiting it out, we can talk about how Velveeta isn’t just a product name — it’s also a baby name! The name Velveeta first appeared on the SSA’s baby name list in the 1950s:
- 1960: unlisted
- 1959: 6 baby girls named Velveeta
- 1958: 5 baby girls named Velveeta
- 1957: 7 baby girls named Velveeta [debut]
- 1956: unlisted
I’ve actually found people named Velveeta born as early as the 1930s and as late as the 1980s, but it’s no surprise to me that the 1950s is when usage rose high enough for the name to pop up in the data. The product was being marketed heavily in the middle of the century, with television commercials and full-page ads in major magazines touting the product’s versatility and healthiness. (Today, Velveeta is actually a symbol of ’50s foods.)
So where does the word “Velveeta” come from?
The product was invented in the late 1910s by Swiss-born cheesemaker Emil Frey. The Kraft-Phenix company (later just Kraft) ended up acquiring the processed cheese spread and naming it “Velveeta” for its velvety consistency.
What do you think of the name Velveeta?
Do you know anyone with the name? How do they like it?