What's the Deal With This Velveeta Shortage?

The Cheesemonger

Beer & Cheddar Dip - no Velveeta required.
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As we told you a couple weeks ago, Velveeta cheese—or rather, "cheese"—is in short supply. Isn't that just, well, odd?

What's the deal with the Velveeta shortage? And what to do in its stead?

You'd never think that something as mass-manufactured as Velveeta could have distribution issues, right? It's so easy to assume that Kraft singles, Philadelphia cream cheese, Polly-O mozzarella — all the name brand, large-scale dairy products — will just kind of always be around. But for the past several months, there's been a blip on the Velveeta radar.

Because of a move from one Kraft facility in Minnesota to another in Illinois, there's been an interruption in both the 8-ounce and 16-ounce quantities of Velveeta. The official explanation from the Kraft higher-ups is that "during this transition we have run into production challenges." Hm. Unclear. Have you found this to be the case in your area, or are there still plenty of queso fixings to be found?

Clearly this isn't the most newsworthy thing in the world, but if ever it would be, it'd be during this time of the year. As a friend of mine remarked after I told her the subject of my column this week, only somewhat facetiously, "What, in the middle of DIP season?!"

What is true is that there are other options this Sunday, should you either not be able to source Velveeta for a classic American-style nacho dip, or if you'd prefer to explore other non-Velveeta based recipes.

If you want something akin to Velveeta, stick to cream cheese, or even Neufchâtel. Both melt into a silky sauce-like consistency, into which you can easily fold green chilis, chopped tomatoes, or even chorizo, ground beef, or bacon. American — white or yellow — melts like Velveeta, too.

Or make a free-form seven layer dip by layering beans, grated cheddar, cream cheese mixture with add-ins from above, some avocado, sour cream, and hot sauce or fresh jalepenos, and serve it with potato or tortilla chips.

My pick is always a homemade cheese sauce for nachos or chips. My personal favorite is actually an Emeril recipe that he made with Martha Stewart, in which he combines pepper jack and grated cheddar cheese.

Super Bowl Sunday might be the one occasion where Velveeta-based dips can fly unabashedly, in all of their down n' dirty glory. Here's hoping you find yours, should you so crave.

(Image credits: Nealey Dozier)

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Nora Singley used to be a cheesemonger and the Director of Education at Murray's Cheese Shop. Until recently she was a TV Chef on The Martha Stewart Show. She is currently a freelance food stylist and recipe developer in New York.