Possible Velveeta shortage loomsJanuary 8, 2014
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Bad news sports fans: Some store shelves are running low on Velveeta, right during a prime season for the popular processed cheese, according to a company spokeswoman.
Credit: Kraft/Velveeta Facebook
What to make instead of queso during the Velveeta shortage
By L.V. Anderson
(c) 2013, Slate.
Advertising Age reports that Kraft is experiencing both high demand for Velveeta and low supply because of "a plant issue" — leading to a shortage of its iconic pasteurized prepared cheese product in some areas on the East Coast. This is obviously devastating news for everyone who thinks the best part of watching the Super Bowl is the queso, and these people have taken to Twitter to virtually beat their breasts and gnash their teeth with the hashtag #Cheesepocalypse.
But is the Velveeta shortage really as bad as it seems? The neolexic portmanteau "cheesepocalypse" seems inaccurate for at least two reasons (not including hyperbole). For one thing, Velveeta can't even legally be labeled "cheese," in accordance with the FDA's standards of identity for dairy. For another, there are many kinds of legitimate cheeses — not to mention other processed cheese products — that have not (yet) been made scarce by the fickle dictates of supply and demand. Presumably a true queso fanatic could melt slices of American cheese with Ro-Tel for similar results. (NB: Please remove the paper lining from in between the slices of American cheese before attempting to melt.)
If you're more ambitious, or more flexible, there are many cheesy dip alternatives for your Super Bowl party. You could make a traditional queso, based on actual cheese, such as the queso blanco my colleague Dan Pashman and I sampled on the cheese episode of our food podcast: http://slate.me/1hwFUYM Or a rich yet restrained spinach-artichoke dip with cream cheese and Parmesan.
If those vegetable-rich options sound too suspiciously healthy, you still have options. One colleague recommends Food52's Nacho Cheese Sauce, which he describes as "disgusting-sounding but accurate, for people who like phantom movie-theater cheese": http://bit.ly/1hwG6ax (It calls for butter, heavy cream, buttermilk and Monterey Jack.) Another coworker likes Hormel's recipe for baked potato dip, which she says is superior to other versions because it contains both sour cream and cream cheese (plus cheddar): http://bit.ly/1aItuFn.
Or perhaps we should all take the Velveeta shortage as an opportunity to adapt our palates to vegan cashew cheese. Cheese, after all, has one of the highest carbon footprints of all animal products. And compared to the effects of global warming, the #Cheesepocalypse doesn't look very apocalyptic at all.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Bad news sports fans: Some store shelves are running low on Velveeta, right during a prime season for the popular processed cheese, according to a company spokeswoman.
Some consumers may be unable to find Velveeta products in the next couple of weeks, Kraft Foods Group spokeswoman Jody Moore said by e-mail Tuesday. She did not provide any specific reasons for the shortage.
"This is really a short-term situation that is more noticeable during our current period of increased seasonal demand," she said.
Known for its smooth texture that makes it ideal for dips and cheeseburgers, Velveeta is a popular eat for game-watching parties -- from college match-ups to the Super Bowl.
The shortage comes on the heels of a string of college bowl games, which culminated in Monday's BCS National Championship game between Florida State and Auburn, and in the midst of NFL playoff games.
And the Super Bowl, which for some Americans is as much about the snacks as it is the game, is less than a month away.
Kraft's statement came after AdAge reported a Velveeta shortage at some East Coast grocery stores. It's unclear if other regions are affected.
The company acknowledged time was of the essence to restock store shelves.
"We have not heard many complaints so far, but because we know Velveeta is a huge hit during football parties, we are doing everything we can to resolve any issues as soon as possible," Moore said.