Food & Drink | December 5, 2021 11:59 am

Supply Chain Issues Are Causing Cream Cheese Shortages

Bad news for bagel fans

A bagel with lox and cream cheese
Close-up of a bagel and lox.
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

As the weather grows colder, the idea of a hearty breakfast starts to sound more and more compelling. It’s not hard to see the appeal of a well-made bagel, served toasted and with a hearty portion of cream cheese. (I’m starting to crave one just typing this, to be honest.) But there’s a slight complication that has bagel stores and bagel connoisseurs alike feeling no small amount of concern. Specifically, the supply chain shortages that are complicating various elements of life have now set their sights on cream cheese.

What’s at the root of this? A new article by Victoria Bekiempis at The Guardian offers more details. Bekiempis spoke with representatives from some of New York City’s best-known bagel spots, and learned that many of them are anticipating cream cheese outages in the coming weeks. Zabar’s, for instance, told The Guardian that they had 10 days’ worth of cream cheese remaining, with little indication of when a refill would arrive.

At the root of several shops’ troubles is a broader shortage — namely, that of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, which some eateries use at the core of their own blends. That, in turn, is made by Kraft Heinz, which has seen a substantial increase in demand.

“As more people continue to eat breakfast at home and use cream cheese as an ingredient in easy desserts, we expect to see this trend continue,” the company told The Guardian in a statement.

It’s a relatively small crisis in the grand scheme of a pandemic — but it’s also something that could hurt small businesses already struggling to rebuild over the last year and a half. And for anyone who’s found a bagel to be the ideal comfort food for troubling times, this news also comes as a cause for alarm.