Where did the baby name Velveeta come from in 1957?

Small part of a retro Velveeta advertisement (1960s)
Retro Velveeta box (from an 1960s advertisement)

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 in the U.S. baby name data 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
  • 1955: 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 cheese-maker Emil Frey. The Kraft-Phenix company (later just Kraft) ended up acquiring the processed cheese spread and naming it “Velveeta” for its velvety consistency.

Velveeta was introduced nationally in the late 1920s, right around the start of the Great Depression. Here’s a Velveeta ad from 1929 telling people about the “delicious new cheese product.”

What do you think of the name Velveeta?

Do you know anyone with the name? How do they like it?

(Other food product baby names I’ve blogged about so far include Calizza, Dijonnaise and Oleomargarine.)

Sources: A Cheesy Meltdown: Kraft Warns Of Velveeta Shortage, And it was all yellow

6 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Velveeta come from in 1957?

  1. If I had to choose a product placement type name it wouldn’t be Velveeta! Not sure what I’d go with…Sony maybe? Disney? But not Velveeta.

  2. I get that it’s very similar to the name Velvet – but it’s processed cheese! At least pick an actual cheese, like Colby or Derby.

  3. My mother who was born 1958 name was Velveeta. Cool to know there are others with her name wish I could have found this sooner she would have loved to hear there are so many other with the name Velveeta.

  4. There really are a lot more Velveetas than I would have guessed originally. And these numbers don’t include the people with Velveeta as a middle name…

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