Cream cheese shortage? Kraft's Philadelphia Cream Cheese to pay $20 to replace Christmas cheesecake – USA TODAY

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UPDATE: After spots for Philadelphia’s Spread the Feeling offer were claimed within minutes Friday, the Kraft Heinz brand announced in a tweet that “we more than doubled the amount of spots available” for Saturday. Originally, the company planned to have 8,000 reservations for the second day of the giveaway. 
If the cream cheese shortage is ruining your Christmas cheesecake plans, Philadelphia Cream Cheese wants to help you with the replacement.
Acknowledging the ongoing supply chain disruption of the key cheesecake ingredient, the Kraft Heinz brand announced Wednesday that it will reimburse 18,000 consumers $20 for a holiday dessert through its Philadelphia Spread the Feeling offer.
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Sign up for a chance for the $20 digital reward at starting at noon ET Friday. There will be 10,000 reservations Friday and then 8,000 additional spots will be available starting at noon Saturday.
According to the fine print, those who get one of the limited spots will have to submit a store or restaurant receipt dated between Dec. 17 and Christmas Eve with a dessert or dessert ingredient identified to qualify.
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“This is not an empty shelf, it’s a holiday tradition waiting another year,” Philadelphia said in a YouTube video about the promotion. “This year, turn that famous cheesecake into those famous brownies. … Share some cookies, anything that will make you feel anything in that cheesecake-shaped hole in your holiday heart.” 
Basak Oguz, the brand’s marketing director, said in a statement that Philadelphia cream cheese has been a staple in American households for the past 150 years.
“As we continue to see elevated and sustained demand, we want to want to ensure that there’s enough cream cheese for bagels, cheesecakes, and everything in-between,” Oguz said. “We’re excited to share that we’re investing millions of dollars so Philadelphia cream cheese will be available to anyone that wants it, wherever they like to shop, for the next 150 years and beyond.”
Last week, a spokesperson for Kraft Heinz told USA TODAY that the company is “maximizing our production to meet unprecedented demand.”
“We’re shipping 30-35% more product to foodservice partners vs. a year ago,” the spokesperson said in an email, noting at-home consumption, which has remained 18% higher than 2019 levels, is adding to demand.
Bagel shops are struggling with the cream cheese shortage and Junior’s Cheesecake had to stop production at its New Jersey-based facility twice because it didn’t have enough cream cheese.
Andrew Tobisch, a spokesperson for Schreiber Foods, said every cream cheese provider has struggled to keep up with demand.
“While that demand has been steady, it’s really world events that are the biggest driver. Things like the pandemic, labor shortages and supply chain disruptions are all hurdles that everyone is having to overcome,” Tobisch said in an email to USA TODAY.
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Philadelphia’s Spread the Feeling offer starts at noon ET Friday where 10,000 people will score reservations at Then 8,000 more spots will open at noon ET Saturday.
According to the brand, consumers who get one of the 18,000 reservations will need to purchase any dessert or dessert ingredients between Friday and Dec. 24 from a store or restaurant and save the receipt. The receipt needs to indicate what was purchased, the date and have the store or restaurant name to qualify.
“No matter if you spend $10 or $40, you will still receive the $20 digital reward with your validated proof of purchase,” Philadelphia said in the fine print.
Consumers who have received confirmation of their reservation will get a unique link to submit the receipt between Dec. 28 at 9 a.m. and Jan. 4 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The digital rewards will be sent within two to four weeks.
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Contributing: Taylor Avery, USA TODAY
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko. For shopping news, tips and deals, join us on our Shopping Ninjas Facebook group
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