America and the Great Cream Cheese Debacle


Americans have long enjoyed the sanctity of indulgence from a bagel with a schmear. What some may call “a civil liberty” is being threatened. After a cyberattack from an unknown source on Schreiber Foods, the sixth largest dairy giant in the US, underlying problems became extremely evident. Schrieber’s virtual conundrum led them to close for a few days, resulting in a fall of 6.9 percent in cream cheese production (Distractify.) Leading dairy conglomerates like Schreiber and Kraft Heinz attributed its lack of output to labor shortage, supply chain disruptions, water rationing, and lack of packaging supplies and ingredients.

The consumer demand for cream cheese has risen 30-35 percent in the last year and a steep 75 percent from bagel shops and various food services across America (Distractify and Washington Post.) The shortage has particularly affected bagel shops, coping by rationing the little schmear they have from customer to customer. It seems the public will have to go on without the privileges of jalapeño poppers and cheesecake.

Kraft Heinz, making 4.9 billion dollars in dairy products in 2021, holds a major dairy plant in the small town of Lowville, NY ( Lowville is allocated 1.5 million gallons of water and of that Kraft had been using 1.3 million gallons, leaving 200,000 gallons for the townspeople. The Village of Lowville had to limit Kraft’s intake by implementing a surcharge for exceeding a daily limit of 1.1 million gallons and a weekly average of 900,000 gallons. Kraft, the keeper of the largest cream cheese brand in the country, Philadelphia, has since reduced their daily water consumption to 800,000 gallons of water per day (Washington Post.)

Before their virtual attack, dairy suppliers were struggling to produce the spreadable delicacy due to labor shortages and disruptions in the supply chain. The labor shortage can be attributed to the 3 percent of the US workforce that had resigned from their jobs as of September 2021 (

Kraft Heinz debated the severity of their water usage in the search for a suspect; they instead point to the exponentially rising demand. In reality, there is no one catastrophe that resulted in the unhappy cream-cheese-less public we see before us. With labor shortages in multiple branches of the chain, lacking manufacturers, transport, and packaging, this amalgamation has hit the dairy industry detrimentally. It seems it will be a while until we see our bagel’s everyday companion.