The broken supply chain is now threatening a New York City breakfast staple.
According to the New York Times, a number of bagel shop owners say they’re in panic mode as they face unprecedented shortage of cream cheese. Some proprietors say they’ve started to hoard as much of the product as possible and have even traveled outside the state in an attempt to replenish their depleting stock.
Pedro Aguilar, a manager at a Pick-a-Bagel, told the publication his shop only has enough cream cheese to last until Monday.
“This is bad,” he said. “This is very bad.”
The Times reports New York bagel shops typically go through thousands of pounds of cream cheese in just a few weeks; however, suppliers have failed to fulfill these orders because of several pandemic-related factors. Phil Pizzano, a sales representative at Fischer Foods, said he has received “hundreds of calls” from bagel shop owners who are scrambling to get their hands on cream cheese. He explained dairy companies have struggled to catch up with demand following the lockdowns of 2020. Pizzano also pointed to the labor shortage within manufacturing, saying many workers have left these jobs because of vaccine mandates.
“If someone like us orders 1,000 cases, maybe you only get a portion,” Pizzano said. “Or maybe you order a truckload, and you only get a few pallets … Everyone right now on the market is scrambling to purchase whatever Kraft products they can. It’s not just cream cheese.”
Distributors told the Times they do not expect the issue to be resolved anytime soon, and it remains unclear if the shortage will result in higher prices.
“It sounds kind of silly, talking about this like it’s some kind of huge crisis,” said Christopher Pugliese, owner of Tompkins Square Bagels. “Sunday bagels are sacred. I hate feeling like I’ve let people down.”