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Cheese shortage affecting N.Y.C. bagel shops

    There is a supply chain crisis that is leading a to a cream cheese shortage in New York City. For a big chunk of my life, I was surrounded by the aroma of fresh bagels. There is nothing heavenly like a warm bagel schmeared with lots of cream cheese. This is certain to get the hoarders out to weaken the supply chain even more. Are we going to be regulated to spreading butter on our bagels? The horror of it all, New Yorkers had to face that they can no longer get one dollar slices of pizza. Now this!

    What people are saying…

    “This is bad. This is very bad,” said Pedro Aguilar, a manager at the Pick-a-Bagel chain, which has several Manhattan locations. On Friday afternoon, Mr. Aguilar said he had only enough cream cheese to last until Monday.

    “I’ve never been out of cream cheese for 30 years,” said Joseph Yemma, the owner of F&H Dairies in Brooklyn, a dairy product distributor for many of the city’s bagel shops. “There’s no end in sight.”

    “We continue to see elevated and sustained demand across a number of categories where we compete,” a Kraft spokesperson was quoted as saying, adding that shipment were up 35 percent from last year. “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.”

    Kraft Heinz is known for our portfolio of iconic and beloved brands and we continue to see elevated and sustained demand across a number of categories where we compete,” the company said in its statement. “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. As such, we’re shipping 35% more product to foodservice partners, such as bagel shops, vs. year-ago.”

    Christopher Pugliese, owner of Tompkins Square Bagels in lower Manhattan, said that business owners are “struggling to patch things together” as they’re told their orders will not arrive, the Times reports. 

    “I was like, ‘What am I going to do this weekend?'” Pugliese told the outlet. “Four people just told me they can’t get me cream cheese.”

    “Sunday bagels are sacred,” he added. “I hate feeling like I’ve let people down.”

    In the traditional sense, a schmear is a generous slathering of cream cheese on a bagel. The word itself has Yiddish origins, derived from the root for spread or smear. Originally, a schmear was simple and rather plain; today however, we often use this word to include cream cheeses that have been blended with a variety of exciting ingredients like peppers, fruit, pickles, capers, herbs, and onions.