New York City Is Facing a Crippling Cream Cheese Shortage That Could Put Your Morning Bagel at Risk

published Dec 7, 2021
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someone is slicing cream cheese on a cutting board
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

If your morning bagel is looking a little lighter on the cream cheese these days, it’s not just you. A shortage has left bagel shops scrambling to get their hands on the country’s favorite bagel topping. The reason for the shortage? Kraft Heinz, the company behind the famous Philadelphia Cream Cheese, says there’s a recent rise in cream cheese demand everywhere. 

The high demand is no surprise as more people slowly return to their offices and start going back to semi-normal routines with their breakfast bagels in tow. But this doesn’t mean those cream cheese contrarians that think a buttered bagel is better are in the clear. Not only do shops use cream cheese as a bagel topping, but they also use it as a base for other things (like a cream cheese glaze for your red velvet waffles), so the effects of the shortage might spread throughout the menu.

According to the New York Times, while many businesses use a raw, unprocessed, and unwhipped version of the popular cream cheese brand, even that is hard to come by. One dairy distributor, Joseph Yemma, even told the paper that he sees “no end in sight,” claiming that he’s “never been out of cream cheese for 30 years.”

From 2020’s meat shortage to the Costco cheese fiasco this past spring, we’ve experienced a series of food-related mishaps recently due to the pandemic and supply chain issues, and collectively survived it as a country. But to New Yorkers, this might be harder to get through than the infamous toilet paper shortage.

Our advice is to pick up a block while you still have time if you’re planning on making any kind of cream cheese creation anytime soon.