People are taking to Twitter with the hashtag “cheesepocalypse” to complain about an announced shortage of Kraft Foods’ (NASDAQ:KRFT) beloved Velveeta cheese product, which could see Velveeta remaining unstocked on grocery store shelves as both the Super Bowl and the 2014 Winter Olympics are around the corner. Prime dipping season could come and pass as consumers go without queso to top their chips while watching sporting events on television. Blame has been placed on supply and demand, a factory issue, and Obamacare.
“Given the incredible popularity of Velveeta this time of year, it is possible consumers may not be able to find their favorite product on store shelves over the next couple of weeks,” Kraft spokesperson Jody Moore said in an email to Ad Age. “Our retail customers are aware of the situation and we expect it to be a short-term issue.”
The reports of the shortage come mostly from the East Coast. Ad Age cites one Brooklyn area grocery store employee who said that the store wasn’t expecting more shipments of the product until February due to a plant issue. Moore wouldn’t comment on the possibility of a plant problem, but said, “I can tell you there is a combination of factors involved, but the driver is really the high demand.”
“We really haven’t heard much from consumers about it at all. It’s a short-term issue amplified by the fact that this is a key time for the brand,” she went on to say. So it looks like this alleged shortage won’t be a big deal at all, even for the Velveeta-obsessed. Ad Age pointed out that obviously Kraft could be losing out on Velveeta sales at a crucial time of year, but if the shortage is as small as Moore says it’s more likely that the news coverage of cheesepocalypse will just remind people how delicious fake cheese products can be and result in more Velveeta sold.
Slate magazine took the time to remind people that there are plenty of options involving real cheese if you can’t go without a cheesy chip dip during the Super Bowl. According to the FDA’s standards for dairy, Velveeta can’t even be technically classified as cheese, so using a real block of cheddar for your queso could actually be a healthy alternative to orange melted plastic. Cheese-dip alternatives like guacamole, salsa, and even vegan cashew cheese will help you better stick to any healthy eating habits you may have pledged to uphold at the New Year.
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