Watch CBS News

Fear Of No Schmear: Shortage Of Large, Plastic Tubs Holding Up Cream Cheese Shipments To NYC Bakeries

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Where's the cream cheese?

There's an apparent shortage of the big, plastic tubs used to deliver it to stores and bakeries.

Distributors throughout New York City are out, CBS2's Kevin Rincon reported Monday.

"Cream cheese and bagels is New York," said Joe Yemma, co-owner of F&H Dairies, which supplies cream cheese to more than 100 bagel shops citywide.

"Usually this is just wall-to-wall bulk cream cheese, all along the racks and along the floor, and it's just nothing. We usually have 15 pounds at a time. This is zero, zero cases," Yemma said.

This empty freezer is a reality across the region.

"I've been here for 40 years and nothing like this at all," said Don Merkelson, co-owner of F&H Dairies.

Mekelson and Yemma have been making phone calls around the clock.

"We have a big truck scheduled for tomorrow, a whole truck load, which is 30,000 plus pounds, and I just got notified, not by Kraft, but by the trucker that it's going to be 3,000," Merkelson said.

Distributors said Kraft Heinz has run out of bulk materials, making it harder to supply deli and bagel stores, while the maker said demand is outpacing supplies.

In the East Village, Tompkins Square Bagels is feeling the pain. Owner Chris Pugliese said he got a call one night from his distributor saying his 800-pound shipment wasn't coming.

"We're like, 'Oh my god. What are we going to do?' Make like a thousand phone calls, scrambling, just trying to make it happen," Pugliese said.

Pugliese went from working with 50-pound containers down to individual-sized cream cheese packets.

"I like to say New York businessmen are like superheroes, and our superpower is we're resilient and we find a way," said Pugliese.

You might not see the shortage when the case at your go-to is full of cream cheese, but it could be empty if another shipment doesn't arrive in a couple days.

It's not just bagels.

"If we don't get our cream cheese, we don't have cheesecake, and New York without cheesecake, I've never heard of such a thing," said Alan Rosen, owner of Junior's.

Rosen said this year alone they've ordered more than 4 million pounds of cream cheese.

"If we don't get cream cheese next week, we can't bake next week," Rosen said.

While it's great to see people back in his restaurants, Rosen said, it's almost panic-inducing wondering if they'll have enough cake for everyone.

CBS2's Kevin Rincon contributed to this report.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.