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The History of Philadelphia Cream Cheese

The invention of Philadelphia Cream Cheese was a (delicious) accident. A Chester, New York dairyman named William Lawrence was trying to re-create Neufchâtel cheese, which was popular in Europe at the time, when he accidentally added too much cream. The result? A cheese that was richer and more spreadable than its predecessors. (However, it is worth noting that spreadable, cream cheese-like products could also be found in England as far back as the late 1500s.) Although it was not created in Philadelphia, Lawrence was advised to include the city’s name in the brand name for his new product because of Philadelphia’s association with high-quality foods at the time. Kraft purchased Philadelphia Cream Cheese in 1928 and quickly built brand recognition around it (in fact, it was one of the first branded food products in America). In the early 1990s, magazines began publishing recipes for “Philadelphia cake” (cheesecake) and later, recipes for dips, other desserts, and sushi began to call for Philadelphia Cream Cheese as well, which positioned the product as a must-have kitchen staple. Today, Philadelphia Cream Cheese remains a beloved food item and is just as popular as ever.

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