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Meanwhile, on the Internet
Tribune Reporters
'Meanwhile' is a collaborative blog about all the crazy stuff on the Internet. Here, reporters from various Tribune desks tell you what you (almost) need to know about topics ranging from technology to YouTube sensations. Contributors: Michael McFall, Dave Newlin, Matt Piper, Brennan Smith, Erin Alberty. Edited by Sheena McFarland.

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FILE- In this Monday, July 28, 2008, file photo, Kraft Foods' Velveeta cheese is displayed at J. J. & F. Market in Palo Alto, Calif.. Kraft Foods says Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, some customers may not be able to find Velveeta products over the next few weeks but didn’t give any reasons for the apparent shortage. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
The Velveeta Famine: all your #cheesepocalypse questions answered

Velveeta — a yellow, non-cheese cheese-like substance — is running out, prompting waves of ironic panic and a little bit of real panic. It’s the #cheesepocalypse!!!!!

1. What is the #cheesepocalypse?

A supply shortage. The short answer is that there’s just not enough Velveeta for everyone who wants it, so there will probably be less of it — or none at all — in stores. Ad Age first reported that the shortage may be due in part to a "plant issue."

A spokeswoman for Kraft, which makes Velveeta, said that "the driver is really the high demand."

That kind of makes sense; Velveeta happens to be a popular ingredient in chip dips, which reportedly are consumed during football games. So bowl season and the coming Superbowl may be contributing factors.

Some, however, have wondered if the entire thing is a marketing ploy.

2. What is Velveeta anyway?

Velveeta is not cheese, as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (which helpfully provides legal definitions for cheeses such as Swiss, Caciocavallo siciliano, Chedder and others). Kraft describes Velveeta as "Pasteurized Process American Cheesefood." Website What is that Ingredient says it contains milk, water, whey, milk protein concentrate and a bunch of other things. Velveeta was invented in 1908 and sold to Kraft in the 1920s.

3. What are the ramifications of the #cheesepocalypse?

For starters, a "difficult time for our great nation," according to a statement from Velveeta’s Tumblr. Also, a glut of tweets.

And it seems only a matter of time before it becomes political fodder: cheesepocalypse could well become cheeseghazi if we don’t get some real answers soon.

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4. Speaking of duration, how long will the #cheesepocalypse last?

The Ad Age post says that a Brooklyn-area grocery store isn’t getting any more shipments until February. A Tumblr post from Velveeta encourages fans to "stick with us in the coming weeks." NPR hinted at a similar "weeks" time-frame as well.

5. I cannot live without Velveeta. What can I do?

You can make your own. (Also, this recipe.) Bear in mind, though, that we’re getting further and further from the Platonic ideal here. There are also reports of life after Velveeta.

6. Put this in context. How important is the #cheesepocalypse anyway?

In short, less important than the (temporary) end of Twinkies, more important than everything else. Ever.

7. Has God forsaken us?

Probably, but that has nothing to do with the #cheesepocalypse.

— Jim Dalrymple II

Twitter: @jimmycdii



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