How the Cream Cheese Shortage Is Affecting NYC Bagel Shops – World News

How the Cream Cheese Shortage Is Affecting NYC Bagel Shops

It’s running low. Tompkins Square Bagels is down to Blackjack. Pick-A-Baggle only has a few days’ supply left.

Across New York City, bagel makers say, a skimmier shortage is threatening one of the most treasured local dishes: a fresh bagel with cream cheese.

“This is wrong. This is too bad,” said Pedro Aguilar, manager of the Pick-a-Bagelle chain, which has multiple locations in Manhattan. On Friday afternoon, Mr. Aguilar said he only had enough cream to last until Monday. thing is.

Nick Patta, who has worked at Absolute Bagels on the Upper West Side for 11 years, said his generic supplier in Queens was run out of the shop’s go-to cream cheese brand for the first time he could remember.

“We went this week and the shelves were empty,” he said.

have supply chain issues plagued the United States for months, leading to shortages in everything from cars to running shoes. In Alaska, residents are struggling to acquire winter coats.

Now, bagel purveyors of New York are starting to feel the impact in a sudden and surprising development that has left them scrambling to find and hoard as much cream cheese as they can.

Zabr’s general manager Scott Goldshine estimated Friday that he has enough to last for 10 days.

“Begging is one of my plans, which I have done, and it has helped,” said Mr. Goldshine, adding that he had called about eight distributors in recent days. “If anyone’s got it, they call me.”

New York bagel vendors go through thousands of pounds of cream cheese every few weeks. Recipe for Dear Spread, Joe According to the Kraft Heinz Company Originating in New York sometime in the 1870s, is quite simple: lactic acid, pasteurized milk and cream. Many shops start their mix with Philadelphia Cream Cheese, a Kraft Heinz brand, which comes in a huge palette.

Pallets aren’t filled with the Philadelphia cream cheese found on most grocery store shelves: The raw product that comes in bagel stores is unprocessed and unpasteurized, said bagel makers, who use it as the basis for their creations. Without that premise, he said, the taste or feel of the spread wouldn’t be the same, and customers would notice.

But for almost three weeks now, dairy suppliers said, cream cheese orders they placed on manufacturers have fallen short.

“I haven’t run out of cream cheese in 30 years,” said Joseph Yemma, owner of F&H Dairies in Brooklyn, which is a dairy product distributor for many of the city’s bagel shops. “There is no end in sight.”

In interviews with owners and workers of about 20 bagel shops and delis across the city, many said they were dismayed, disappointed and running away to find cream cheese after learning about shortages over the past few days.

Absolute Bagels has enough cream cheese to last through Thursday, Mr. Patta said. But employees at their specific supplier told them they couldn’t confirm when the next shipment would arrive. Although he had planned to check with other suppliers in the Bronx and Queens, he was concerned with what he was hearing.

“If we can’t find cream cheese, I worry now, what are we going to do?” Mr. Patta said.

Several customers of Absolute Bagels said on Friday that they would be less likely to order a bagel if cream cheese isn’t available.

“Probably not, no,” said one, James Giaquinto. His reasoning: “It’s an essential part of the bagel.”

The first cracks in the supply chain began to appear several months ago, some shop owners said, when they started running low on items like deli wrappers, Gatorade and coffee cup lids.

“It’s a lot of weird stuff, and there’s always the same story,” said Christopher Pugliese, owner of Tompkins Square Bagels in the East Village. “We all behind the scenes, when you go to the stores, we’re all struggling to patch things together.”

Mr Pugliese said he had received a call from his dairy supplier on Thursday night saying the 800-pound order he was expecting on Friday would not arrive.

“I was like, ‘What am I going to do this weekend? Mr. Pugli said. “Four guys just told me they can’t bring me cream cheese.”

After calling four other distributors, he said, he finally got his hands on a case—except that instead of the usual giant bag of cream cheese, the box was filled with individually wrapped three-pound sticks.

Some bagel shop owners are scavenging their cream cheeses on state lines. On Friday afternoon, Frank Matera, owner of Bagelsmith in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, said he planned to move to New Jersey to pick up 2,000 pounds of cream cheese.

Mr Matera said he had been forced to go that route in recent weeks to meet the demand for thousands of bagels in his shop every day, without raising prices.

“I’ll jump in my truck and I’ll drive to North Jersey and pick it up, but I usually don’t have to go that far,” he said. “You make a phone call and it’s left to you.”

And because the cream cheese the bagel store uses is in its rawest form, store owners can’t supplement their stores by running to the grocery store for a few tubs.

“We don’t want to open 500 little packets of cream cheese to get what we need,” said Adrian Concha, general manager of Brooklyn Bagels at Shelsky’s in Park Slope.

One supplier, Mr. Pugliese of Tompkins Square Bagels, said he had told them he would ask small dairy farmers to help fill the gap. But, Mr Pugliese said, the supplier was not optimistic that it would be able to meet demand.

Phil Pizzano, a sales representative for Fisher Foods, one of New York state’s largest food distributors, said he had received hundreds of calls over the past few weeks from panicked bagel shop owners asking if there was anything to sell for them. There is no cream cheese left. ,

He has struggled to understand why the treasures of Philadelphia cream cheese have suddenly dried up.

“You get answers across the board from every manufacturer,” he said.

Kraft Heinz spokeswoman Jenna Thornton said in a statement that the company is seeing increased demand for many of its products. To accommodate the increase, she said, the company was shipping 35 percent more products to food service partners, including bagel shops, compared to last year.

“Where we compete, we see advanced and continued demand across multiple categories,” Ms Thornton said in the statement. “As more people continue to snack at home and use cream cheese as an ingredient in easy desserts, we expect this trend to continue.”

Problems have emerged at every point along the supply chain, which brings cream cheese to morning bagels from factories, Mr. Pizzano said, including labor shortages in manufacturing, which began at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, shortages of truck drivers. . Due to resistance to vaccine mandates and a lack of packaging supplies.

“If someone like us orders 1,000 cases, you probably only get a portion,” said Mr. Pizano. “Or maybe you order a truckload, and you only get a few pallets.”

The cream cheese shortage, he said, was also posing a challenge for bakeries, many of which expect to churn out hundreds of cheesecakes and other cream cheese-based desserts for the holidays.

“Everyone is scrambling to buy craft products in the market right now,” he said. “It’s not just cream cheese.”

Although shortages seem to be the biggest crisis facing bagel shops at the moment, many people also reported new problems finding meat, which is an essential ingredient in many breakfast sandwiches.

Kayla Ramon, a supervisor at Bo’s Bagels in Harlem, said the store had been able to stock up on cream cheese until recently, but was having trouble getting Taylor Ham.

“Last week, we started to feel the lack,” said Ms. Ramon. “Now, slowly, it is taking a toll on us.”

Upper West Side’s popular appetizer shop Barney Greengrass is struggling to find enough pastrami and beef tongue.

Owner Gary Greengrass said he had heard from bagel shop owners as far away as the Carolinas who have been unable to obtain cream cheese. Supply chain issues should be a wake-up call to Americans who take the complicated process lightly, he said.

“We don’t appreciate what goes on behind everything to move things from source to store and across the country,” Mr Greengrass said.

It remains to be seen whether the shortfall will translate into higher prices or limit of orders, several shop owners said. But distributors said they did not expect the problem to be resolved any time soon.

Mr Pugliese of Tompkins Square Bagels said he had considered eliminating less popular cream cheese flavors such as espresso for a few weeks. Others said they had turned to lower-quality suppliers.

“It sounds silly, to talk about it as if it’s some kind of huge crisis,” Mr Pugliese said.

But, he said, a bagel with cream cheese is a New York institution and a “big deal” for many of his customers.

“Sunday bagels are sacred,” said Mr. Pugliese. “I hate feeling like I let people down.”

precious fondren And lola fadulu Contributed to reporting.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *