Domain Seven: Cheese Distribution and Transport

Cheese professionals should know how to properly care for and attend to cheese products in shipping from the producer through the supply chain to the consumer.  They should be familiar with the methods and materials required to store, package and wrap cheese during the transport and distribution process. This includes knowledge of the appropriate types of transportation containers and vehicles required to ship raw materials and finished products.  This domain applies to cheesemakers who ship directly to retailers, foodservice businesses and consumers as well as to traditional wholesale distributors and retailers who maintain their own warehouses and self-distribute to their stores.

 

I. Concerns During all Modes of Transport (Do No Harm)

A. Maintain the Cold Chain (38° F is optimal)

  1. Ensures consistent temperature that prevents deterioration of product in transit

B. Suitable Packaging

  1. Prevents damage from boxes possibly being tossed around
  2. Maintains proper moisture control
  3. Initial packaging starts with the producer and the producer must assume it needs to hold up through the transport/distribution chain to the retailer/foodservice outlet and/or consumer

 

II. Methods of Transport  (How does cheese get from producer to consumer?)

A. From Producer Directly to Customer -Not through Distribution-Within United States

  1. Delivered on producer’s own truck
    1. Should be refrigerated vehicle
  2. Sold at Retail Outlet on Farm or at Farmer’s Markets
  3. Shipped UPS, FedEx, USPS
    1. Ground
    2. Air- use shelf life and possible temperature issues as consideration in determining whether to use air or ground
    3. Importance of gel packs, protective packaging, seasonal ambient temperatures
    4. Carefully consider cost factors of freight and packaging affecting final retail price to consumer
  4. Common Carrier – refrigerated truck
    1. Often the preferred method of transport if shipping to a retailer warehouse
    2. Customer picks up at Producer’s place of operation

B. From Producer to Customer through Distribution-Within US

  1. Delivered to Distributor on Producer’s own refrigerated truck
  2. Shipped UPS, FedEx, USPS-Size of order will determine if this mode is feasible
    1. Ground
    2. Use shelf life and possible temperature issues as consideration in determining whether to use air or ground
    3. Importance of gel packs, protective packaging, seasonal ambient temperatures
  3. Common Carrier – refrigerated truck
  4. Distributor picks up at Producer’s place of operation
    1. Distributor receives product – ideally on refrigerated dock (maintaining cold chain)
    2. Product is stored in refrigerated warehouse – rotated on First In/First Out Basis
    3. Product is shipped to Retailer, Foodservice Outlet, Sub-Distributor on refrigerated truck.  Truck is temped at each stop to ensure maintenance of cold chain
    4. Receiver immediately refrigerates product to maintain cold chain and integrity of product