With cream cheese in short supply and cheesecakes a seasonal favorite, Kraft, the owner of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, launched a campaign to reimburse customers for up to $20 spent making or buying a non-cheesecake dessert during the holiday season.

“This is not an empty shelf, it’s a holiday tradition waiting another year,” Philadelphia said in a YouTube video about the promotion. “This year, turn that famous cheesecake into those famous brownies. … Share some cookies, anything that will make you feel anything in that cheesecake-shaped hole in your holiday heart.”

Individuals hoping to participate in the campaign were encouraged to visit a special website, spreadthefeeling.com, to reserve a spot to get reimbursed for a free dessert. Kraft promised to choose as many as 18,000 participants on Dec. 17-18. Reservations on both days sold out quickly. Lucky participants were instructed to submit their receipt for any replacement dessert bought between December 17 – 24 for up to a $20 reimbursement.

The cream cheese shortage has been partly caused by a cyberattack on the biggest U.S. cheese manufacturer, Schreiber Foods in Wisconsin, according to Bloomberg. However, it also reflects supply chain factors such as ingredient and packaging materials scarcity and truck driver shortages that have led to shortages in other categories as well. People baking at significantly higher rates than usual is another contributing factor.

Cream cheese is hardly the only product customers have had trouble finding since the beginning of the pandemic.

In the early days, panic buying led to stockouts on staples and disinfectants. Eggs, pasta and flour soon disappeared from shelves as a home cooking trend took off.

Since early 2021, supply chain disruptions attributed to both shipping bottlenecks and stateside labor shortages have brought back out-of-stocks challenges for U.S. grocers. Many expect the challenges to last through at least the first half of 2022. According to a recent article from Axios Charlotte, Publix was imposing two-item limits on 18 categories, including bacon, coconut flakes, frozen pie shells, half and half, vegetable oil and jarred gravy.



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