Champaign plant not at full capacity
CHAMPAIGN — Kraft Foods Group said it's confident any shortage of Velveeta — a product of its Champaign plant — won't last long.
"We expect this to be a short-term issue," company spokeswoman Joyce Hodel told The News-Gazette.
Last year, Kraft consolidated its Velveeta business in Champaign, making the local plant "the home of the loaf" and creating 39 new jobs here.
Hodel said the consolidation is still taking place.
"We're in the process of ramping up full production of additional Velveeta lines that we began installing in our Champaign plant late last summer," Hodel said in an e-mailed response to questions.
"It takes time to bring equipment new to the facility up to speed, so we're still in the process of getting to full capacity," she said.
Advertising Age reported Tuesday that some East Coast stores were having problems getting Velveeta, and The Associated Press picked up on that report.
"It is possible that some consumers in any part of the country may not be able to find some Velveeta products on store shelves over the next couple of weeks," Hodel said.
Kraft hasn't gotten many complaints so far, she said. But she added that any shortage may have been made "more noticeable" by big football games.
"Because we know Velveeta is a huge hit during football parties, we are doing everything we can to resolve any issues as soon as possible."
Hodel said Kraft has shifts "working around the clock" to produce the processed cheese.
Besides producing Velveeta, the Kraft plant in Champaign makes Kraft dinners, such as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Kraft Singles, Miracle Whip, Kraft mayonnaise and salad dressings.
It recently expanded production in salad dressings and cheese slices and is one of the largest pasta producers in North America.
The plant, which employs about 1,200, produces half of Kraft's dinners and 40 percent of its processed cheese.