Velveeta shortage threatens to make the Super Bowl less cheesy

Velveeta shortage is starting to affect America's supermarkets, just in time for peak party dip season. Will the Velveeta shortage mean a Super Bowl without queso dip? 

Paul Sakuma/AP/FIle
Kraft Foods' Velveeta cheese is displayed at J. J. & F. Market in Palo Alto, Calif.. On Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, Kraft foods warned of a possible Velveeta shortage over the next few weeks, but didn’t divulge any causes.

Are your dip-making capabilities woefully limited? Are you hosting or attending a gathering that required you to make dip in the near future? If you answered “yes” to both of those questions, then the following news is very important: America may be facing a Velveeta shortage.

The crisis comes to us courtesy of AdAge, which contacted Velveeta-maker Kraft foods after rumors surfaced that inventory of America’s favorite cheese-like substance was becoming low in grocery stores on the East Coast due to a possible production issue. "Given the incredible popularity of Velveeta this time of year, it is possible consumers may not be able to find their favorite product on store shelves over the next couple of weeks," Kraft spokeswoman Jody More wrote AdAge via e-mail. "Our retail customers are aware of the situation and we expect it to be a short-term issue."

She went on: "I can tell you there is a combination of factors involved, but the driver is really the high demand." She added: "We really haven't heard much from consumers about it at all. It's a short-term issue amplified by the fact that this is a key time for the brand."

At first glance, this would appear to be a big problem for Kraft. January and February is peak dip season, after all, with many Americans taking shelter from the winter cold to gather and watch sports, like the NFL playoffs, Super Bowl, and Winter Olympics.

But a word of caution: These shortages have become a typical feature of major food holidays in the United States, and they seldom turn out to be as dire as they first seem. Last year, an alleged Buffalo wing shortage threatened the nation’s Super Bowl parties, as high prices and the possibility of McDonald’s releasing a chicken wing product threatened to shorten supply. In the run-up to this past Thanksgiving, Butterball faced a potential shortage of a certain size of its fresh turkeys.

Neither shortage reached crisis levels, or, to the best of our knowledge, directly led to anyone going without chicken wings or turkey. Velveeta will probably be available for those who desperately need it for their Super Bowl queso dip.

Still unconvinced? Walmart, Target, and several other retailers are currently selling Velveeta online (and it’s non-perishable!). So you can stock up in case this shortage proves to be … an actual shortage. 

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