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Junior’s cream cheese shortage hits


The company’s cheesecake is roughly 85% cream cheese, making it impossible to prepare without this key ingredient. The shortage forced the company to halt cheesecake production on Friday at its bakery plant in Burlington, New Jersey because it did not have enough ingredients, according to owner Alan Rosen. It reopened on Sunday, after a frantic trip on Saturday to pick up more. But it will have to suspend production again on Thursday, Rosen said, as the problem persists.

The factory is where Junior’s manufactures its flagship product, which it sells to thousands of national retailers, as well as restaurants, direct to consumers, and in its four restaurants. Each year, Junior’s uses about four million pounds of cream cheese to make its flagship product, Rosen said.

The cream cheese shortage couldn’t come at a worse time. December is “our busiest month of the year,” Rosen said.

Junior’s plant typically operates more often at this time of year to meet higher demand during the holidays, he said. Half of the company’s mail order sales occur in the last three months of the year, and its restaurant business grows by about 20 or 30% during the holidays, Rosen said. While Junior’s has managed to fill orders so far, Rosen is concerned that the outages could impact last-minute cake purchases.

“We scratched by” for several weeks, he said, “get some cream cheese sporadically and pray.”

New York’s bagel stores are also scrambling because they’re low, according to a recent New York Times report. Small New York bagel chain Ess-a-Bagel has leaned on more suppliers.

“We just have to source the cream cheese from different suppliers,” Melanie Frost, chief operating officer and president of Ess-a-Bagel, told CNN Business. That, along with the promotion of its tofu spreads, helped keep Ess-a-Bagel from running out, she added.

It’s not an option at Junior, Rosen said. “The recipe hasn’t changed an ounce” since opening his first restaurant in Brooklyn in 1950.

To make sure there’s no shortage of cream cheese, Junior’s enlists Kraft Heinz, the Philadelphia-owned food giant. “We communicate with them on the phone. We talk, we advocate, we move trucks wherever we can,” Rosen said.

Kraft Heinz (KHC) had seen demand for cream cheese increase in both restaurants and grocery stores even before the current holiday season, according to the company. Now, “we are maximizing our production to meet unprecedented demand,” the company told CNN Business in a statement, adding that it was shipping 30-35% more cream cheese to restaurants than last year. . In retail channels, demand for cream cheese jumped 18% in 2020 from 2019 and remained at the same level, Kraft noted.

So, while worried about running out of cream cheese, Junior’s is buying more than in the past due to greater demand.


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