Food News

Kraft Will Pay You to Not Make Cheesecake This Christmas

18,000 would-be-bakers can purchase any other dessert on the company's dime.

December 15, 2021
Photo by Rocky Luten

“You can earn $20 by not making cheesecake,” sounds like an internet scam, but thanks to the current cream cheese shortage, it’s actually true. Kraft Heinz, the parent company of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, is offering a $20 digital reward to 18,000 shoppers in exchange for forgoing their usual Christmas cheesecake.

How does it work? On December 17 and 18, log on to at 12 p.m. EST, and make a dessert reservation. There will be 10,000 rewards offered on the 17, and 8,000 more released on the 18. Then the fun part: You need to buy a dessert—any dessert of any price—between December 17 and December 24, and keep the receipt. Then, between December 28 and January 8, upload the receipt to get your $20 digital reward.

It’s not exactly cold hard cash spewing out of your computer monitor, but it’s still a pretty good reason to skip the cheesecake this year. What’s up with the cream cheese shortage, you might ask? Well, since this is 2021 and we’ve faced all kinds of shortages in the past 18 months, it might not come as a surprise that supply chain problems are once again the culprit. Kraft Heinz has upped their production to get 35 percent more cream cheese to food service locations, like bagel shops and bakeries, that depend on the precious stuff, but you may still find your dairy aisle lacking your usual schmear.

Part of the problem here is the shortage of truck drivers to bring the pallets of cream cheese to the stores, as well as the labor shortage difficulties in the manufacturing sector. Plus an additional layer of trouble thanks to a lack of traditional packaging supplies.

So the Philadelphia Cream Cheese campaign is making the best of a bad situation through some light bribery, you might say. “This year, turn that famous cheesecake into those famous brownies,” the company said in a promotional YouTube video about the $20 reward. “End your meal with a friendly fight over the last holiday…cupcake. Share some cookies, anything that will make you feel anything in that cheesecake-shaped hole in your holiday heart…this year, if you can’t spread Philly, spread the feeling.” It might not be cheesecake, but hey, we’ll take it.

What are you making this year instead of cheesecake? Send inspiration in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Margaret Eby

Written by: Margaret Eby

Editorial Lead of Food, Food52


Suz December 20, 2021
I never make cheesecake at Christmas - we have trifle!
Ellen December 20, 2021
Molten chocolate cake!