By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Restaurants have been hit hard during the pandemic with shutdowns and a lack of workers. The industry is now struggling with another challenge.

Food shortages are now spreading to local bagel shops – that’s because it’s hard to find cream cheese.

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Kraft-Heinz, which makes Philadelphia Cream Cheese, says demand has increased since the pandemic started. This year the company reports it is shipping 35% more product than last year.

The company ran a promotion the weekend before Christmas suggesting alternative holiday desserts for people who can’t find their product.

The company even offered a $20 reimbursement to 18,000 customers.

Cornell University professor Christopher Wolf says labor and supply chain issues continue to hurt the entire food industry.

“Consumers are going to have to be patient with the sporadic shortages that they might be seeing for different products,” he says. “We’re going to be well into 2022, if not, you know, most of 2022, I think before we can get recovered from this.”

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“The $64,000 question is what’s going to happen with COVID, and us getting back to some semblance of a normal labor market,” Wolf says.

Ashley Dikos owns BO’s Bagels in New York City, where they are feeling the pinch. “It kind of just hit, just like all of the sudden, out of the blue.”

Joe Yemma co-owns F&H Dairies in Brooklyn, NY, a dairy distributor, where he says on some days their coolers are nearly empty.

“Usually this is just wall-to-wall bulk cream cheese, all along the racks.”

Bagel shop owners have been forced to look for cream cheese in grocery stores, which can be challenge. Sometimes there’s plenty available, and other times the shelves are bare.

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At this point it’s just not clear when the cream cheese shortage will ease. Team