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Velveeta shortage? Four food crises that came before

Just in time for football playoffs and the corresponding making of cheese-related dips, Kraft says some customers may not be able to find Velveeta over the next few weeks.

A representative for the company wouldn't give any reasons for the apparent shortage, saying only that they happen from time to time given the "nature of manufacturing."

That didn't help the collective freakout that followed. Soon, #Cheesepocalypse was trending on Twitter.



Eventually, Velveeta was forced to respond, saying, "it's true–we are experiencing a temporary scarcity of our nation's most precious commodity: Liquid Gold. But please know that we are working tirelessly to get more Velveeta on store shelves as soon as possible and that this was in no way a "publicity stunt." We always want Velveeta where it belongs–in your hands, in your homes and in your stomachs."

Stick with us in the coming weeks, because we want to make it up to you–and we will.



It caused us to ask the big questions.



Though, for the record, not everyone was alarmed.



It should be noted that the Velveeta crisis is not the first shortage of its kind, even this year.

In January, lovers of Sriacha were forced to confront a world without spicy sauce. (Or at least rumors of a world without spicy sauce.)

In December, Huy Fong Foods was forced to halt shipments of the sauce after an order from the California Department of Public Health "to ensure an effective treatment of micro-organisms present in the [Huy Fong Foods] product." It all started with neighbors complaining that the making of the so-called Rooster Sauce caused their eyes to burn. That makes sense.

In 2012, we were forced to confront another crisis: a world without Twinkies. (And, really all the Hostess snack cakes, but it was the Twinkies that seemed to catch the zeitgeist.)

Hostess shuttered its factories in November 2012, but Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co., which also owns Pabst Brewing, swooped in to save the day by buying the brand and its tasty snacks. Production resumed and order was restored.

Perhaps the most troubling food shortage of our times threatened, well, everything. We're talking, of course, about bacon.

Times food editor Janet Keeler did her best to dispel the rumors of the Great Bacon Outage in October 2012, writing, "Predictions of bacon shortages have sent shivers through a nation in love with pork belly. What will we eat with our eggs and grits? What else could pair so deliciously with a molten cheeseburger? How will Top Chef contestants cope without their go-to salty flavor booster? Relax. It appears your local grocery store will have plenty of bacon despite the wail from European pork producers last month forecasting a baconless world. Social and traditional media gobbled up the story like, well, pigs at the trough, and there was momentary panic that we would be forced to live without bacon cupcakes."

Bacon treats could not be denied.

The first warning came in 2009. Thanksgiving was approaching and a crucial ingredient was said to be in short supply.

Pumpkin. Specifically, the canned kind. "We know at this point the (2009) harvest is going to be smaller than anticipated," Roz O'Hearn, a spokesman for Libby's told our reporter. "Does that mean it's going to be increasingly difficult to find in stores? Yep, that's probably likely."

We tried to cope. (Say it ain't so, sweet potato.)

By September of 2010, it was over.

Pro tip: Don't Google food shortages. It in no way will make you feel better. About anything.


Velveeta shortage? Four food crises that came before 01/10/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 10, 2014 2:49pm]
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