Last Updated on February 6, 2023 by Aaron
If you’re like me, a good bagel isn’t complete without a creamy, dreamy spread of cream cheese. And if you’re a fan of grabbing a bagel and coffee on the go, you’ve probably tried the cream cheese offerings at both Starbucks and Panera Bread.
But have you ever stopped to wonder what’s in that creamy goodness?
Starbucks and Panera Bread are two giants in the coffee and bakery industry that serve cream cheese spreads with their bagels. Over the years, they have made several changes to their bagel menu and the cream cheese.
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Does Starbucks Have Cream Cheese?
Yes, Starbucks does offer cream cheese as a topping for its bagels and muffins — usually as part of its bakery menu items. They offer a variety of cream cheese options for their customers, including plain, veggie, and flavored options, such as herb and garlic, honey walnut, and blueberry, particularly during seasonal offerings. Additionally, for those looking for a healthier option, Starbucks offers reduced-fat cream cheese with 30% less fat and calories.
Starbucks provides not only its signature plain cream cheese but also an option of Kraft cream cheese, catering to customers who prefer a classic and familiar flavor. The nutrition values are similar, you can learn more in our previous article here where we discussed the best & healthiest cream cheese brands with Kraft Philadelphia as the #5.
While you can request butter without an additional charge, the cost of cream cheese typically ranges from $0.50 to $1.50, depending on your location. It comes in a 1.5-ounce small container.
Starbucks Plain Cream Cheese Spread, INGREDIENTS: Milk and cream, water, whey, cheese culture, salt, potassium sorbate (preservative), lactic acid, guar gum, carob bean gum, xanthan gum.
Starbucks cream cheese is made with a blend of ingredients that include stabilizers and preservatives (anti-fungal). Read how cream cheese is made in our previous post. The exact ingredients may vary based on the flavor of the cream cheese. Some Starbucks cream cheese flavors may also contain additional ingredients such as fruit or nuts.
You can check the container label or ask a Starbucks barista for more information on the ingredients in a specific flavor of cream cheese.
What Brand of Cream Cheese does Starbucks Use?
Starbucks has its own in-house brand of cream cheese. It also uses a variety of brands for its cream cheese offerings, including Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Miyoko’s creamery (for vegans & vegetarians), and Pauly cream cheese. The specific brand used and availability can vary on location, but Starbucks sources its cream cheese from reputable brands to ensure quality for its customers.
Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Starbucks has a long-standing relationship with Kraft’s Philadelphia cream cheese brand. In 2010, Kraft sued Starbucks over a distribution dispute for packaged coffee products but it was resolved, read detail. Despite this, Starbucks continued to offer Kraft cream cheese as an option and has since developed its own brand of cream cheese, read this thread “Dear Starbucks, I’d really like a better cream cheese please.”. Today, both options are still available at Starbucks locations.
Miyoko’s Creamery Cream Cheese
Starbucks began offering Miyoko’s cream cheese as a vegan and dairy-free option for its customers in 2020. Miyoko’s cream cheese is made from organic nuts and is a non-dairy alternative to traditional cream cheese. Starbucks offers this option as a spread for its bagels, catering to customers with dietary restrictions or preferences. The addition of Miyoko’s cream cheese has expanded Starbucks’ menu offerings and helped the coffee chain cater to a wider range of customers. It’s only limited to selected locations and comes in 1.5-ounce packages with Everything and Cinnamon Raisin flavors. In addition, Starbucks is also testing out vegan whipped cream.
Beatrice’s Pauly Cream Cheese
At present, Starbucks primarily utilizes Pauly’s cream cheese at its Asia-based locations, such as in Hong Kong and South Korea. Pauly’s is a brand owned by Beatrice, which was acquired by ConAgra Brands. ConAgra is an American food company that owns a number of popular brands, including Hunt’s, Healthy Choice, Orville Redenbacher’s, and Marie Callender’s, among others.
Panera Bread Cream Cheese
Panera Bread offers a variety of popular cream cheese spreads. In 2018, the company faced a listeria outbreak linked to its cream cheese products, read the detail, which led to a recall of various cream cheese varieties sold in its cafes. After the listeria outbreak, Panera Bread reduced the number of cream cheese flavors it offered, likely as a result of increased safety measures and a need to simplify its production processes to ensure the safety of its products.
Panera Bread Plain Cream Cheese Spread, INGREDIENTS: Pasteurized Milk And Cream, Salt, Stabilizers [Guar, Locust Bean And Xanthan Gums], Cheese Culture.
The ingredients used for the Panera plain cream cheese are fairly simple and wholesome. It does not contain artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. The use of stabilizing agents ensures a smooth and spreadable consistency.
What kind of cream cheese does Panera have?
As of now, Panera Bread offers a limited number of cream cheese spreads, including the classic plain, honey walnut, and chive & onion. The cream cheese spreads come in 1.75-ounce containers (previous was 2 ounces) for about $1.50, and 8-ounce tubs for $3-4 depending on your area. The company also offers 30% reduced-fat versions of each flavor. However, some popular cream cheese flavors, such as hazelnut, wild blueberry, veggie, New York-style Cheesecake, and sundried tomato, among others are no longer available. Some others are seasonal, such as strawberry cream cheese in summer.
The cream cheese used by Panera Bread is sold under their own brand name, but the actual suppliers or brands used are not publicly disclosed. This is a common practice among restaurants and food chains as they often source their ingredients from multiple suppliers to ensure consistent quality and availability.