National cream cheese shortage hits Detroit pierogi creator during holidays

There’s a national cream cheese shortage and it has hit a local pierogi producer during the holiday season.

Supply chain hiccups have stopped production at a New Jersey-based cheesecake organization. New York City bagel shops have been attempting to manage with lessening schmear.

“I haven’t seen any shortage of cream cheese at all, and then all of a sudden, for a week straight there was no cream cheese anywhere,” said Erica Pietrzyk, founder of Detroit-based Pietrzyk Pierogi.

Pietrzyk utilizes cream cheese in two of her most famous pierogis, which are traditional Polish dumplings packed with different kinds of fillings. With regards to a week and half prior, she saw that wholesalers she regularly visits were out of bulk cream cheese and different stores had the spread, yet for more than she normally pays.

She’s wanting to endure the year’s end with back stock and small cases she purchased from one provider yet stresses she may need to ultimately raise costs of the items assuming the cheese keeps on being scant.

“Most of our pierogi don’t have cream cheese in them, but one of them specifically that we sell to our distributor, which goes to Kroger, is an item that has cream cheese in it,” she said.

That is an item they need to produce all the time, she said. Thus when a key ingredient is elusive or is excessively costly, it can possibly hit her small business hard. At a certain point, she stressed she’d need to temporarily discontinue two cream cheese-filled items — the Spin Me Right and The Becky.

“As a business owner, you have to make the decision: Do we continue processing this item right now, or do we take a break from it or burn through whatever stock we already have and wait for the shortage to end?” she said.

There are various potential culprits behind the cream cheese lack. Dairy organization Schreiber Foods needed to close down for various days in October, as activities halted on account of a cyber attack. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in a report prior this month said “that regional cream cheese food service shortages are due to multiple factors, including logistics bottlenecks, labor issues and supply shortages at manufacturing facilities.”

Pierogi are traditionally served for Wigilia — the Christmas Eve meatless vigil dinner. Contingent upon the region, cream cheese can be an important ingredient for the dumplings, Pietrzyk said.

“People eat pierogi all year. But especially with the Polish community, pierogi are a staple food of Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day. … Christmas is always a very busy time for pierogi sales,” she said.

In the interim, the lack doesn’t seem to have hit other local pierogi creators, yet they actually stress.

Carolyn Wietrzykowski, manager of Polish Village Cafe in Hamtramck, which includes a few cream cheese filled items, said the restaurant hasn’t had an issue.

Drew Geer over at Little Pierogi & Crepe Kitchen in Wyandotte said the deficiency has not impacted the business at this point. Yet, if it does, two thirds of the restaurant’s core menu — pierogis, crepes and soups — would need to bear the brunt. They go through 30 pounds of cream cheese every two weeks.

“Majority of our sweet crepes have a cream cheese-based filling and one of our biggest selling pierogi, the jalapeño popper, will also be put on hold if we’re unable to obtain cream cheese in the future,” Geer said in a Facebook message.