Kraft has a solution to the cream cheese crisis that’s ruining holiday cheesecake plans: paying holiday shoppers to eat a different dessert.
The maker of Philadelphia Cream Cheese said Wednesday that it plans to reimburse $20 to 18,000 shoppers who buy other desserts or dessert ingredients as cream cheese supplies remain spotty nationwide.
To claim the prize, customers will have to sign up for the promotion starting at noon on Friday and then submit a receipt for a dessert purchase between Dec. 17 and Christmas Eve, according to a website set up by Kraft.
The company suggested that customers make cookies, brownies or cupcakes instead.
The news comes as cream cheese is increasingly difficult to find in the US. Lockdown-related baking sent demand for cream cheese skyrocketing in 2020, leaving suppliers scrambling to catch up. Then in October, a key company in the cream cheese supply chain was forced to close for days after being hit with a cyberattack.
Shortages in truck drivers, manufacturing workers and packaging supplies are also to blame for the scarcity, according to Kraft.
In addition to emptying grocery store shelves, the schmear shortage has also hurt local restaurants. In December, Brooklyn cheesecake institution Junior’s was reportedly forced to suspend cheesecake production after deliveries from Kraft ran dry.
Cream cheese prices surged 18 percent from 2019 to 2020 and have remained high, according to CNN.
The high prices and shortage have also hurt New York bagel shops, with some shop owners being forced to schlep all the way to New Jersey to personally secure cream cheese, the New York Times reported in December.
The cream cheese crisis is one of many pandemic-related supply chain issues that have swept the country in recent months.