The supplier connection: Dairy

Dairy experts talk about recent issues affecting foodservice purchasing.

A shift in milk production from the Midwest to the West, coupled with rising fuel costs, is hampering distribution, says Garrett Lowney, director of sales and marketing for the Independent Procurement Alliance Program. "This problem gets passed down in the form of a higher cost to the end user," he adds. Distributors and operators must monitor processes to drive inefficiencies out of the supply chain.

Supplier consolidation is swallowing up smaller companies. This is shifting power up the supply chain from buyers to producers, Lowney explains. To counteract this, he advises distributors and restaurants to work together to more accurately forecast orders, consolidate purchases and adjust order cycles.

Specialty distributors are growing. While broadliners still handle the bulk of dairy commodities, smaller distributors are dealing with specialty, local or small-production products. Not only do these distributors sell unique ingredients, "they can come in the back door four to five days a week, offering operators a better schedule for freshness," says Kevin Marckus, sales manager for FreshPoint A-One-A.

Exclusive deals are a more frequent way to do business. FreshPoint, for example, offers an Around the Rind program in which a specialty cheese is featured weekly.

Customization is growing. Operators can work directly with a manufacturer or distributor to create proprietary products. "If a restaurant is looking for a specific flavor profile, melting property or other function in a cheese, we work out a solution," says Elizabeth Bowes, marketing manager for Sartori Foods in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Past custom products include a citrus-infused Tesore cheese and crumbled cheeses with a hand-crafted, artisanal look.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

This semester, the East Quad dining team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is taking steps to offer more authentic global cuisine , Michigan Daily reports.

The team has partnered with the Office of Student Life to start a conversation with students on how best to create and serve Middle Eastern and North African cuisine. Additionally, the university invited chefs from Japan and India to campus to help its chefs create more authentic recipes.

The school’s push for more accurate global cuisine was partially inspired by an international food event that got cancelled...

Industry News & Opinion
Madison food truck

The Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wis., has partnered with a local organization to debut a food truck that will serve healthy, locally sourced lunch options for Madison high school students, according to The Capital Times .

The truck, which was donated by the Emmi Roth Cheese Co., will visit four high schools Tuesday through Friday, spending a day at each campus. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch can use the food truck as they would the school cafeteria for no-cost or discounted meals.

Members of MMSD and partner organization REAP Food...

Industry News & Opinion

Identifying prospective employees may be less challenging for foodservice operators than getting would-be recruits to complete the hiring process , according to a new study of why job applicants bail.

The report shows that nearly three out of fours applicants (74%) will drop their effort to be hired if they suspect management is racist, and two out of three (62%) will flee if they learn of sexual harassment allegations. Roughly the same proportion (65%) will halt their pursuit if they encounter indications of a gender gap in pay.

About half (45%) of candidates won’t show...

Menu Development
zoodles

Here’s how two operations are spotlighting produce this season.

Oodles of zoodles

Binghamton University underscored its growing focus on plant-based options with a recent zoodle pop-up on campus. The pop-up, which served vegetable noodle bowls in vegan and vegetarian varieties, sold out of the dishes in four hours. The Binghamton, N.Y., school aims to add zoodles to its regular menu in the fall.

A buffet boost

The dining team at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, recently re-evaluated its buffet offerings with an eye toward adding healthy options. It updated the fruit and...

FSD Resources