Supply chain crisis leads to shortage of cream cheese in New York bagel stores

  • Bagel stores in New York are experiencing a shortage of cream cheese due to increased demand and supply chain constraints.
  • Several store owners have told the New York Times that they have started hoarding cream cheese or heading to New Jersey to stock up.
  • The schmear is the latest consumer product to be affected by the current supply chain crisis.

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The supply chain crisis has arisen for another beloved commodity – New York bagels.

Bagel stores in the nation’s largest city are experiencing an unprecedented shortage of cream cheese, causing many to start hoarding the spread, with some even crossing state borders to get it, reported the New York Times. Local favorites from Zabar’s and Tompkins Square Bagels in Manhattan to Shelsky’s in Brooklyn said they were struggling to find ways to meet demand for schmear.

According to the New York Times, dairy manufacturers and suppliers have failed to fill orders for pallets of unprocessed, non-whipped cream cheese in recent weeks. Bagel stores use this raw cream cheese as a base to create their own flavors, so they generally don’t look to grocery store alternatives to fill in the gaps.

Several business owners told The Times they only had enough cream cheese for a few days and ran out of alternatives. On Thursday, the owner of Tompkins Square Bagels in Lower Manhattan was told his order for 800 pounds of cream cheese would not arrive at all.

“Sunday bagels are sacred,” Christopher Pugliese, owner of Tompkins Square Bagels, told The New York Times. “I hate feeling like I let people down.”

The spread is the latest in a growing list of consumer products plagued by shortages thanks to the supply chain crisis. Everything from personal care products to popular groceries continues to face bottlenecks, leading to recent price hikes at major consumer packaged goods companies like Unilever and Procter & Gamble.

According to Kraft Heinz, the parent company of Philadelphia Cream Cream, the cream cheese shortage is linked to increased demand for “many of its products,” in part due to an increase in the number of Americans eating at home during the pandemic .

“We continue to see high and sustained demand in a number of categories where we compete,” Kraft Heinz spokesperson Jenna Thornton told The Times. “As more and more people continue to have breakfast at home and use cream cheese as an ingredient in easy desserts, we expect this trend to continue.”

And while bagel store owners have said they have no plans to raise prices anytime soon, some are removing less popular cream cheese flavors from their queues in the aim to preserve the product.

“It’s bad. It’s very bad,” Pedro Aguilar, manager of Pick-a-Bagel, told The Times.