Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Kraft is offering to pony up $20 for dessert supplies to help customers who were unable to make cheesecake due to shortages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
The company set up a special website at which the first 18,000 people to register on Friday and Saturday will be able to apply for a $20 reimbursement for their dessert purchases.
The promotion is designed to ease consumers' concerns about shortages of Kraft's Philadelphia Cream Cheese, which has been quickly vanishing from the shelves amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kraft Heinz, which produces the Philadelphia brand, said it has seen demand spike for several products, and that it had to ship 35% more than last year.
"As more people continue to eat breakfast at home and use cream cheese as an ingredient in easy desserts, we expect to see this trend continue," the company said in a statement.
Bagel shop owners say suppliers tell them that supply chain issues also impact the shortage, with some citing lack of containers and corrugated boxes used to ship the cream cheese to large customers such as supermarkets and bagel shops.
Other theories have surfaced, as well, including labor shortages at some plants and not enough truck drivers. Some observers say many consumers' schmears are just too thick.
And in Lowville, N.Y., a village with 3,000 residents not far from the Canadian border, the board of trustees limited water use to one of the nation's largest cream cheese plants, which is operated by Kraft Heinz.
That reduction, combined with the peak season for Junior's, the cheesecake magnate, likely added to supply pressures, industry observers said.
Basak Oguz, Philadelphia marketing director, said Kraft is working to offset the national shortages, taking measures that include scaling back on some products so it can produce more cream cheese.
"We're investing millions of dollars on Philadelphia Cream Cheese," Oguz told CNN.