🥯 The cream cheese crisis - The Hustle
The Hustle

🥯 The cream cheese crisis

The US Captioning Company announced its list of 2021’s most mispronounced words, including: “cheugy” (CHOO-gee), “Chipotle” (chih-POHT-lay), “dalgona” (tal-goh-NAH), “Dogecoin” (DOHJ-coin), and “Eilish” (EYE-lish). Chipotle opened in 1993, so it’s a little sad we’re still at this point.

Today’s rundown:

  • Schmear crisis: US cream cheese is missing.
  • Breaking records: The huge resurgence of vinyl.
  • Double-decker: The seating format could be coming to airplanes.
  • Around the web: A site for finding stargazing spots, learn to import spreadsheets with a camera, and more wild internet things.

Let’s do it.

The big idea

There’s a cream cheese crisis — and bagel shop owners are panicking

Supply chain issues have claimed a new victim — breakfast.

Bagel shop owners from New York City to the Carolinas are struggling to find cream cheese and fear the supply shortage could continue leaving bagels high and dry, per The New York Times.

So where’s the schmear?

Many bagel shops use Kraft Heinz’s Philadelphia Cream Cheese as a base for their own in-shop flavors, ordering supply in bulk that gets delivered on massive pallets.

Kraft has experienced a spike in demand, resulting in a 35% jump in what they’ve shipped to customers this year — diminishing the company’s inventory and leading to empty pallets.

But it’s not just Kraft — shop owners report struggles with other suppliers, caused by a flurry of shortages, including:

  • Labor shortages at factories
  • The national truck driver shortage
  • A shortage of packaging supplies

So what’s a shop owner to do?

The raw cream cheese that bagel shop owners purchase is unwhipped and unprocessed, which means they can’t just raid the shelves of local grocery stores.

While some shop owners make do with lighter orders or lower-quality products, others have considered raising prices, temporarily removing less popular flavors, and putting limits on orders.

Some New Yorkers have even gone as far as making the trek to *gasp* — New Jersey — to replenish their stash.

Bagels are only the beginning

While bagel shops are feeling the shortage most acutely, many bakeries use cream cheese for cheesecakes and other holiday-themed desserts.

Given the uncertainty of supply going forward, it might make sense to stock up now — lest you end up with dry bagels for New Year’s brunch.


Wonder-ful news: Marc Lore, former CEO of Jet.com, announced he is CEO of Wonder Group, which has raised $500m+ so far, and includes an on-demand food truck service and a food delivery service. #ecommerce-retail

Granular data: NASA’s $1.5B Nisar radar imaging satellite will launch in 2023. It’s able to detect movements in land, ice sheets, and sea ice that are as small as 0.4 inches. #clean-energy

NFT numbers: Chainalysis revealed NFT sales hit ~$27B this year, with OpenSea accounting for ~60% marketshare. #emerging-tech

Satoshi, unmasked? Craig Wright, an Australian man who claims to have invented Bitcoin, won a lawsuit granting him control over 1.1m bitcoins. #fintech-crypto

Reward problems: Consumers complained that rebates offered with the purchase of an iPhone 13 are being wrongly denied by Verizon and T-Mobile. #big-tech

Breaking Records

Vinyl is breaking records

Long before the days of Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube, vinyl records were all the rage. In the 1970s, vinyl sales peaked at 530m units/year and accounted for 66% of all music format revenues.

But as new formats emerged, the vinyl market virtually evaporated. Revenue fell from $2.5B to just $10m/year.

In recent years, though, something odd has happened: Vinyl has made a small but mighty comeback, largely fueled by millennial hipsters under 35.

Last year, for the 1st time since 1986, vinyl records outranked CDs in annual sales. This year, they’re on pace to more than double CD revenue.

For modern-day indie artists, it’s a welcome boom:

  • A vinyl record costs ~$7 to manufacture, and a band typically sells it directly to fans for $25 — good for $18 in profit.
  • By contrast, it takes ~452k Spotify streams to match the profit of 100 vinyl albums.

For our latest visual explainer, we dove into the economics of the vinyl boom.

Read the full story →

Breaking down Barstool vs. Business Insider

Last month, a Business Insider article exposed David Portnoy’s controversial sex life.

The Barstool Sports founder fired back big-time. Our buddies at Morning Brew were collateral damage and we’re sick about it.

Sam and Shaan find teachable moments amongst the noise. They dissect the drama, the art of war, how to handle getting canceled, and more.

My First Million show highlights:

Good morning podcast →
Sky Stacks

What’s up with double-decker airplane seats?

An Expedia survey found 48% of travelers can’t sleep on a plane, but one company suggests they could if airlines switched to double-decker seating.

Zephyr Aerospace’s “Zephyr Seat” stacks 2 horizontal seats, allowing both passengers to either lie down flat or sit up with their legs outstretched. The top passenger enters and exits via a pop-out ladder.

The seats wouldn’t offer greater capacity if they replaced standard economy seats, but could if they made their way into business class, per Business Insider.

They would offer more privacy than traditional seating or Air New Zealand’s Skycouch, which may appeal to COVID-anxious travelers. They’d also likely be cheaper than the lie-flat seats currently found in first and business class cabins.

So when might we see these in action?

Zephyr founder Jeffrey O’Neill and co-designer Matt Cleary patented the Zephyr Seat in March 2018, according to Forbes.

But there are a few issues to settle first, like:

  • Certification for taxi, takeoff, and landings
  • Evacuation tests

FAA regulations state all passengers and crew must be able to evacuate within 90 seconds, and aircraft manufacturers have to conduct live demos to show this.

They’re intense, too: Here’s the Airbus A380’s test, evacuating 873 passengers in 78 seconds.

In all, safety tests could take Zephyr 3 years, per CNN Travel.

But demand could be high

Zephyr raised $739.3k via crowdfunding from 2.5k+ hopeful plane-nappers — 700%+ of its initial goal.

Fun fact: The word “zephyr” means a gentle breeze and is derived from Zephyrus, the Greek god of the west wind.


What’s ahead for the future of work? This afternoon, our expert explains

The world of work is constantly evolving, and it doesn’t just impact whether you can Zoom without pants.

​In this interactive seminar, Steph Smith will bring you up to speed on the future of work. Whether you’re looking for an edge, seeking new ideas, or hoping to attract the best talent, you’ll learn about:

  • ​How to stay competitive in the new landscape
  • New benefits companies are using to attract talent
  • ​10+ gaps for untapped products and services…

​… and much more.

​Steph is a director of marketing at HubSpot, podcaster, and one of the original creators of Trends, our premium newsletter surfacing emerging business opportunities.

​As she says best, it was crazy to think the 40-hour workweek wouldn’t change. But it’s even crazier to think it won’t keep changing.

RSVP now to stay ahead →

🎭 On this day: In 1660, a woman played Desdemona in Shakespeare’s “Othello,” marking the 1st time a woman legally performed on a public stage. Prior to this, men had played all the parts.

🔭 Useful: If you’re going camping, this website will help you find dark sites — places where light pollution won’t interfere with stargazing.

🥔 That’s interesting: Researchers are unraveling the mysteries of the Four Corners potato, a drought-resistant spud with an 8-year shelf life that Native people have used for 11k+ years.

📱 How to: Did you know you can import content and data into Microsoft Excel and Word with your phone’s camera? Here’s how.

👂 Cure boredom: Ling Your Language is a game where you listen to someone speak, then try to guess the language. You can also use the site to learn about languages.

🥕 Aww: And now, just a beaver doing some grocery shopping, albeit a bit clumsily.

Meme of the day

No such thing as too much. (Source: Bustle)

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