The Great 2021 Cream Cheese Shortage: A Perfect Storm of Supply Chain and Cyber Attack Woes
You may have heard about some shops having trouble keeping cream cheese in stock – but do you know the role an October cyberattack played?
The recent cream cheese shortage isn’t just because during the holidays, as festive baking results in demand reaching its highest peak for the year. In fact, it was greatly exacerbated by a cyberattack on Schreiber Foods in Wisconsin months ago.
The hackers demanded a rumored $2.5 million ransom to unlock Schreiber’s computer systems, halting operations for five days at plants and distribution centers. Schreiber is such a large producer of cream cheese that the results were felt throughout the supply chain, as dairy handlers and haulers were forced to find alternate homes for the milk.
From there, the usual supply chain woes felt across every market this year took a further toll. Since cream cheese is a fresh product, keeping large inventories available isn’t possible, and the transportation labor shortage meant a lack of truck drivers working in the dairy industry, which requires an extra license to pick up milk. And as a result of all this, prices rose sharply.
Add to that difficulties getting other key ingredients like starch, thickening agents, and even packaging, and you have a very 2021-style perfect storm – supply woes, price increases, sudden demand, and opportunistic hackers – that all comes down to this: your bagel may have to go schmear-less.