The Great Velveeta Shortage of 2014

posted at 10:21 pm on January 8, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

I ran across this image and quote this morning on the Facebook page of “Humans of New York,” a sort of social art project that pairs photos of New Yorkers with a quote about them or their lives, documenting “New York, one story at a time.”

Humans of New York Russia

Then, I came across this story. We live in a country where a momentary shortage, that has not yet even materialized, of a specific, beloved processed cheese product, is a national news story deemed worthy by citizens of being suffixed into a “-pocalypse”

Tragedy:

Playoff parties may have one fewer dip option this year.

Kraft Foods says some customers may not be able to find Velveeta cheese over the next few weeks. A representative for the company, Jody Moore, didn’t give any reasons for the apparent shortage, saying only that they happen from time to time given the “nature of manufacturing.”

She noted that the lack of availability is more noticeable because of the seasonal demand during the NFL playoffs. The company has been airing TV commercials featuring a recipe for a chili con queso dip made with Velveeta.

Moore says it should be a short-term situation and that Kraft hasn’t yet heard from any customers who are having problem finding the products. She did not say whether the company experienced a similar shortage last year.

The trade publication Ad Age reported the issue Tuesday, quoting an employee at a Brooklyn-area grocery store who didn’t expect shipments again until February due to “a plant issue.”

The uproar over this temporary possible shortage of just one of the thousands of processed and natural cheese products available to us obscures the fact that a) there are hundreds of processed and natural cheese products within our grasp every single day, as Americans, depending on location and grocery stores and b) that there is virtually never an interruption in cheese delivery to the millions of Americans who want cheese and cheese products. Cheese comes to our local stores from far-flung places in predictable quantities, with seasonal adjustments for playoff chip-dip scenarios with nearly perfect consistency (Velveeta pun!)

Many will scoff and say the regular, near-perfect delivery of cheese is nothing, but it’s damn near miraculous, and a historical anomaly to be so well-supplied with cheese of all varieties that those who used to worry about a lack of cheese are now compelled to write laws limiting our cheese intake for us. One of capitalism’s greatest weaknesses is the invisible hand works so well its untold maneuvers are easy to take for granted. Until you’re sitting there, for the first time in your life, with a lonely can of Rotel.

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Food Truck Thread™

Sriracha, Velveeta?

What is next? Provel!?!?!

Murphy9 on January 8, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Cheesy. :)

Someone had to say it.

thatsafactjack on January 8, 2014 at 10:30 PM

Free advertising.

cozmo on January 8, 2014 at 10:32 PM

When melted this stuff makes great tent-seam sealer.

As a food I wouldn’t give it to my dogs.

Bishop on January 8, 2014 at 10:33 PM

You can use it as a tire patch too

J_Crater on January 8, 2014 at 10:34 PM

Anything and everything to distract from and not have to write about ObamaGlitch the failure and destroyer.

Yet another squirrel.

Meople on January 8, 2014 at 10:34 PM

Say cheese

faraway on January 8, 2014 at 10:35 PM

We need a government program. Sounds like something Obama could turn over to Christie as a bi-partisan gesture.

Wait a minute…maybe Christie is the cause?

kcewa on January 8, 2014 at 10:35 PM

Chez-Whiz, For The Win Whiz.

PointnClick on January 8, 2014 at 10:38 PM

What is next? Provel!?!?!

Murphy9 on January 8, 2014 at 10:27 PM

…no!…you called it right the other day Murphy9…two short ones from MKH…(or Erika)…and then the QOTD!

KOOLAID2 on January 8, 2014 at 10:43 PM

Great inside tractor tires for more weight, also: rust inhibitor.

8thAirForce on January 8, 2014 at 10:51 PM

I remember in the 70′s when Johnny Carson made a joke about a toilet paper shortage. People emptied the shelves, stocking up, because they believed it was the real deal.

whatcat on January 8, 2014 at 10:52 PM

Velveeta was something I ate as an impoverished college student some 30-odd years ago. I haven’t touched it since.

PatriotGal2257 on January 8, 2014 at 10:56 PM

Sounds like their PUSHING their product by claiming a ‘possible shortage’.

GarandFan on January 8, 2014 at 11:00 PM

I guess this is a good example of a “first-world problem”.

Socratease on January 8, 2014 at 11:03 PM

I guess this is a good example of a “first-world problem”.

Socratease on January 8, 2014 at 11:03 PM

A non-food food item shortage? I reckon.

Murphy9 on January 8, 2014 at 11:08 PM

Velveeta isn’t cheese, think larger, think more legs and less body fluids.

BL@KBIRD on January 8, 2014 at 11:10 PM

Just get Rico’s nacho cheese sauce. At the Houston Sam’s Club it’s $5.98 for 6 pounds!

theo22 on January 8, 2014 at 11:11 PM

Only one man can save us.

forest on January 8, 2014 at 11:13 PM

Whenever some leftist airhead starts railing against “corporations,” I wonder out loud how long they could survive without using anything made or delivered to them by a corporation. They don’t like this and generally refuse to participate, so I have to figure it out on my own.

For most leftists, death would occur within four hours. They could go stand in the woods naked for that long if the weather permits, but they would die without their iPhones.

Adjoran on January 8, 2014 at 11:18 PM

Aw, man.

#FirstWorldProblems

#IDon’tEatProcessedCheeseGoop

#Whiners

gryphon202 on January 8, 2014 at 11:28 PM

If you believe this “shortage” is real – you are an full-blown idiot.

Kraft is looking at the non-event that happened with Siracha, which caused a run at supermarkets, saw the opportunity to replay it during their highest selling peak.

It’s no freakin accident that this story broke when sales ads flip mid-week. Go into your supermarket, and be stunned by the Velveeta endcaps. Why, you would think word came down from corporate!

Because it’s Kraft. And it’s a con.

It’s not even real cheese. No fkng cows are involved when making velveeta.

I understand this column is half-joke, but to talk about the wonders of manufacturing really shows a slavishness to corporate America.

Try this one if you’re in a panic.

Buy the store brand. It’s the same shite without the label markup.

Or buy American from the deli with a half-gallon of 2%. Get a pot put it over a med/low flame and shred the cheese.

Guess what? American’s not real cheese either, so it will melt.

Good Gawd…

budfox on January 8, 2014 at 11:29 PM

Yeah, three days ago when I was in my local Walmart, I noticed a ‘wall’ made out of Velveeta bricks. Never seen so much Velveeta in one place at one time.

So, either this story is a marketing ploy,……..
Or the shortage is due to one store in the Southwest having cornered the market on it.

LegendHasIt on January 8, 2014 at 11:37 PM

When melted this stuff makes great tent-seam sealer.

As a food I wouldn’t give it to my dogs.

Bishop on January 8, 2014 at 10:33 PM

Eons ago I worked in a Kraft factory where Velveeta (among other cheese products) was made. It’s an interesting process to say the least. Although I am quite fond of real cheese, I don’t eat Velveeta to this day.

climbnjump on January 8, 2014 at 11:42 PM

It’s probably not good for us anyway. What do Mayor Bloomberg and Michelle Obama say about it?

exhelodrvr on January 8, 2014 at 11:45 PM

It’s not even real cheese. No fkng cows are involved when making velveeta.

budfox on January 8, 2014 at 11:29 PM

Yeah, it isn’t real cheese – it is a “processed cheese product”. But yes, there are cows in the process. One of the main ingredients of Velveeta is milk.

climbnjump on January 8, 2014 at 11:52 PM

So you’re saying Kraft cut the cheese?

Knott Buyinit on January 8, 2014 at 11:52 PM

PR campaign much? Kudos to Kraft. :)

I didn’t even know there was real food in Velveeta!

PattyJ on January 9, 2014 at 12:02 AM

Rotel!

A+

Del Dolemonte on January 9, 2014 at 12:05 AM

One of capitalism’s greatest weaknesses is the invisible hand works so well its untold maneuvers are easy to take for granted.

Ah, don’t sweat it. O’bozo’s gonna fix that.

WryTrvllr on January 9, 2014 at 12:49 AM

Make a roux, add some milk, drop in some shredded cheese. Way better.

phxconservative on January 9, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Velveeta :: Cheese

Sunny Delight :: Orange Juice

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 9, 2014 at 1:01 AM

Eons ago I worked in a Kraft factory where Velveeta (among other cheese products) was made. It’s an interesting process to say the least. Although I am quite fond of real cheese, I don’t eat Velveeta to this day.
climbnjump on January 8, 2014 at 11:42 PM

I went to college in a town with a Kraft plant…..Champaign, IL. It was rumored Velveeta was refined and formed into bricks there. Some days when the wind was just right, the smell from the plant reached campus and was sickening. Not sure if they actually made velveeta there, but I haven’t had it since. The plant smelled like a refinery.

oceansidecon on January 9, 2014 at 1:10 AM

Velveeta? In August there was a P.G. Tips shortage in Los Angeles and southwestern Montana. Now there seems to be a Vick’s Nyquil shortage in southwestern Montana.

I don’t remember bare shelf space in grocery stores and “shortages” of this nature happening with major producers before. What gives?

jix on January 9, 2014 at 1:17 AM

Don Rickles was out of Velveeta once.

Flange on January 9, 2014 at 1:33 AM

I saw a pallet load of the stuff at the Costco in Rockwall last week. There’s something strange about a ‘cheese’ that doesn’t need refrigeration. I haven’t had any of the stuff in decades. The Texans like to melt it with a can of Rotel and call it ‘Queso’. I haven’t quite got my courage up to try that one, yet.

trigon on January 9, 2014 at 2:02 AM

..Ham and cheese?

The War Planner on January 9, 2014 at 2:27 AM

There’s a very good reason why Velveeta cows are in hiding.

Ugly on January 9, 2014 at 3:07 AM

Don Rickles was out of Velveeta once.

Flange on January 9, 2014 at 1:33 AM

I’ve seen the entire roast before, but didn’t remember that! lol thanks!

Ugly on January 9, 2014 at 3:20 AM

Oh how fragile our psychi’ is.

TX-96 on January 9, 2014 at 6:20 AM

Velveeta was something I ate as an impoverished college student some 30-odd years ago. I haven’t touched it since.

PatriotGal2257 on January 8, 2014 at 10:56 PM

I recently bought my first brick of the stuff since I was in college. Because it came with a free, airtight plastic “cheese keeper” box.

The Velveeta was just as indigestible as I remembered it. The box, OTOH, is a perfect container for using oven cleaner to strip chrome off of plastic car-model parts, without smelling up my workroom or breathing the fumes. Which was why I tossed it in the baskart when I spotted it on the store shelf.

But even then, I wouldn’t have bothered except that it was half-off price at the time.

I call the purchase a wash.

cheers

eon

eon on January 9, 2014 at 6:27 AM

Has anybody considered that this is all a hoax? A warning is issued that folks might not have Velveeta for the “big game” due to a shortage…… Well, if you go to the store and see Velveeta sitting on the shelves (which is creepy enough), wouldn’t you at least think about getting yours before you can’t?

Happy Nomad on January 9, 2014 at 6:52 AM

I am sure that it is just a coincidence that the owner of Kraft Foods is also the owner of the New England Patriots.

Nothing to see here….move along folks….

percysunshine on January 9, 2014 at 6:59 AM

Velveeta? Meh.

Now if this were an up and coming shortage of Spam or Thunderbird, then I would take notice.

ajacksonian on January 9, 2014 at 7:26 AM

saying only that they happen from time to time given the “nature of manufacturing.”

In other words, the machine broke down.

sadatoni on January 9, 2014 at 7:27 AM

I tweeted this article two days ago titling it: “end of days”. We all got a laugh out of it and several people retweeted it.

Didn’t think it was such serious stuff.

southsideironworks on January 9, 2014 at 7:32 AM

I am sure that it is just a coincidence that the owner of Kraft Foods is also the owner of the New England Patriots.

Nothing to see here….move along folks….

percysunshine on January 9, 2014 at 6:59 AM

Wrong Kraft. A simple online search would have told you that, but I guess you’re like the leftists who refuse to let facts get in the way of their agenda/storyline. :)

Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, the Revolution Soccer Club, etc, is in the paper products business and has nothing to do with Kraft Foods.

TKindred on January 9, 2014 at 7:39 AM

The shortage does not exist in the South. This is an east coast shortage.

Kermit on January 9, 2014 at 7:41 AM

Velveeta? Meh.

Now if this were an up and coming shortage of Spam or Thunderbird, then I would take notice.

ajacksonian on January 9, 2014 at 7:26 AM

Breakfast of Champions! (since it’s now morning)

Never knowingly had Velveeta in my life. Maybe I’ve had it at parties.
I thought about trying the Rotel/Velveeta experiment last month when I had a hankering for queso.
It turns out it’s more expensive than the house brand of queso in a jar. Before you buy the Rotel.
So I bought a couple of jars instead.

22044 on January 9, 2014 at 7:49 AM

Well, if there is no Velveeta, you can buy the store brand. (I know — too simple.)

No Truce With Kings on January 9, 2014 at 7:52 AM

A common way to increase demand for a product is to create a perception of scarcity. They’re probably just trying to sell more cheese.

Catahoula on January 9, 2014 at 8:00 AM

“We live in a country where a momentary shortage, that has not yet even materialized…”

Brace yourself: I heard the iPhone6 might be released a whole day late.

Tsar of Earth on January 9, 2014 at 8:18 AM

Make a roux, add some milk, drop in some shredded cheese. Way better.

phxconservative on January 9, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Yep. Cooking isn’t difficult, people.

RDH on January 9, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Why, it’s almost as if this is a manufactured shortage intended to drive up sales pre-Super Bowl!

Yes, I am a professional cynic. Please try this at home.

Paul_in_NJ on January 9, 2014 at 8:56 AM

When I was in school, many years ago, I purchased something labeled “imitation cheese food product” because it was cheap, and then I read the label. There was no dairy, just chemicals and oil. I believe that is what taught me to be a diligent label-reader ever since.

tru2tx on January 9, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Velveeta is gross, but every once in a while I make the Rotel dip. I have some leftover in the fridge right now. It’s always been a hit with teens and younger kids around here in Texas, but I admit to partaking as an adult too. To make it heartier, fry up some Jimmy Dean sausage and dump some into the velveeta/Rotel. My husband was served that on a hunting trip, and it’s a real man pleaser. Avoid the mild Rotel. It’s too wimpy.

juliesa on January 9, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Who moved my Velveeta?

Galtian on January 9, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Even though I kind of like the Velveeta Rotel dip, I do not use it to make nachos. Nachos made with “nacho cheese sauce” are for the ballpark, the carnival, or the movie theater, and they’re ok for that. They are to be properly made with shredded real cheese and canned jalapeños, then you can add other stuff if you must.

Have you ever seen the Rico’s nacho truck? It’s a truck with a giant simulated tray of ballpark nachos on the back–like the Weinermobile, only nachos. The nachos look real except for being giant. I had to take a picture.

juliesa on January 9, 2014 at 9:33 AM

I understand this column is half-joke, but to talk about the wonders of manufacturing really shows a slavishness to corporate America.

budfox on January 8, 2014 at 11:29 PM

Lighten up, Francis. *eyeroll*

I do a batch of Ro-Tel for New Years. 1 can of regular and 1 can with the habaneros, 2# of Velveeta. It doesn’t last long. Unless you let it sit too long – then it lasts forever.

Make a roux, add some milk, drop in some shredded cheese. Way better.

phxconservative on January 9, 2014 at 1:00 AM

That takes a LOT more attention than putting cheese and Ro-Tel into a bowl and microwaving it slowly. Sure, it’s better, but it’s not the same. ;)

GWB on January 9, 2014 at 9:53 AM

For shame, now what will Moochelle feed her guests at her ‘Snacks & Sips’ birthday bash?

Brat on January 9, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Why, it’s almost as if this is a manufactured shortage intended to drive up sales pre-Super Bowl!

Yes, I am a professional cynic. Please try this at home.

Paul_in_NJ on January 9, 2014 at 8:56 AM

I think you are on to something. Wasn’t there a chicken wing shortage last year around time for the Super Bowl?

Brat on January 9, 2014 at 9:56 AM

BREAKING:

NFL announces delay in post-season play due to cheese shortage; demands TSA agents to be stationed at grocery stores to prevent hoarding.

BobMbx on January 9, 2014 at 10:40 AM

That takes a LOT more attention than putting cheese and Ro-Tel into a bowl and microwaving it slowly. Sure, it’s better, but it’s not the same. ;)

GWB on January 9, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Throw in a pound or two of taco meat and some diced green onions. Turns it into some great nachos.

Flange on January 9, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Velveeta can also be used for smuggling drugs or so I am told. I used to teach in a men’s prison and prison security officials would tell us stories of how inmates’ friends and families would try to send them contraband. One method was to hollow out a brick of Velveeta, stuff marijuana in it,then put back the cheese, place it back in the box and mail it to the inmate. Due to antics like this my state’s prison system bans inmates from receiving food boxes from any source except from approved vendors.

susandiane311 on January 9, 2014 at 12:03 PM

noooooooooo,please noooooooooooo!

Redglen on January 9, 2014 at 12:06 PM

If you believe this “shortage” is real – you are an full-blown idiot.

Exactly. Sales are down. It’s the oldest marketing/sales trick in the book – drive sales by creating a “sense of urgency.”

kmid219 on January 9, 2014 at 12:40 PM

According to a column in the Chicago Tribune this morning, the Velveeta shortage is caused by Obamacare, even though the author could find no mention of Velveeta or cheese in the legislation.

polarglen on January 9, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Exactly. Sales are down. It’s the oldest marketing/sales trick in the book – drive sales by creating a “sense of urgency.”

kmid219 on January 9, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Operators are standing by. Call now because supplies are limited….

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Now if this were an up and coming shortage of Spam or Thunderbird, then I would take notice.

ajacksonian on January 9, 2014 at 7:26 AM

I’m wondering if I could put Spam and Thunderbird in the Ro-Tel dip and have something good edible that might be entertaining.

GWB on January 9, 2014 at 2:35 PM

If anyone is really that desperate, you can make your own.

Recipe

MississippiMom on January 9, 2014 at 2:53 PM

I’d never heard of Rotel until I moved south of the Mason-Dixon line. (Same with biscuits and gravy, okra, and black-eyed peas.)

Al in St. Lou on January 9, 2014 at 5:59 PM