UNFI expands artisan cheese program to second warehouse in response to demandUNFI expands artisan cheese program to second warehouse in response to demand
UNFI's American Artisan Cheese and Specialty Program connects retailers in six states with unique cheesemakers around the country.
May 31, 2022
Distributor United Natural Foods Inc. has doubled the size of its American Artisan Cheese and Specialty Program and expanded it to a second warehouse.
Customers participating the program can order from a premier group of highly curated producers from regions nationwide, such as Jasper Hill Farm of Vermont, Green Dirt Farms of Missouri, Tulip Tree Creamery of Indiana and Cowgirl Creamery of California, said Providence, Rhode Island-based UNFI. Most of the products—described by UNFI as "handled with exceptional attention"—are flown directly from each farm through a partnership with Southwest Airlines, personally picked up at the airport and delivered to each retailer to ensure optimal freshness.
UNFI launched the American Artisan Cheese and Specialty Program in the fall of 2020 to give customers access to craft cheeses sourced from across the country. Since then, the strong customer response led the distributor to expand the program to a second warehouse to serve customers in the Pacific Northwest.
With the expansion, UNFI's American Artisan Cheese program now serves more than 200 retailers in six states, doubling the program's size since its launch.
"Our team of certified cheese professionals took their passion for craft on the road across the country to discover some of the best cheeses from small, family-run farms. Our American Artisan Cheese and Specialty Program gives UNFI customers a truly distinct category offering to make their cheese cases stand out," Rebekah Baker, director of cheese and specialty at UNFI, said in a statement. "We're not only proud of the quality of producers in our program and the support we're able to give to elevating local farms, but also by the unique way that we're able to deliver on freshness."
UNFI extended its American cheese category expertise with support for the annual American Cheese Society Judging & Competition, recently held at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus. The event spotlights top American cheesemakers for quality cheesemaking and their commitment to food safety. A UNFI cheese specialist is participating as a judge this year, and the company donated refrigerated trailers to store over 6,000 pounds of cheese for the competition.
"Partnering with true category experts from UNFI and to have their support is what makes this event possible," said ACS Executive Director Tara Holmes. "We're thrilled to have cheese specialist Carlos Souffront of UNFI's Tony's Fine Foods on board with us again for his seventh year of judging."
This piece originally appeared on Supermarket News, a New Hope Network sister website. Visit the site for more grocery trends and insights.
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