How to Ship Dairy

By
Tamia Tutson
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Believe it or not, shipping dairy products is not all that uncommon now. As the need for online purchases increases, so does the demand for products. Now, retailers and distributors are tasked with finding new ways to meet their customer's needs.

In 2018 alone dairy e-commerce sales increased from 2.7% to 3.4%. Pre-COVID commerce rates were expected to be much lower. However, the pandemic compounded this growth to 10.2% percent as large amounts of consumers began to shop online. 

Among this growth, dairy retailers saw dramatic increases in milk and cheese purchases. Namely, online cheese sales increased about 160% in April 2020 and 190% in May 2020. So, why wouldn't these same retailers look to sell online? Many think that dairy products are either 1: unsafe to ship or 2: lose their quality once shipped.

However, neither are true if you apply the correct shipping methods. In this article, we'll discuss how to ship dairy, what dairy wholesale is, and where you can find the best dairy wholesalers online. 

How to Ship Dairy

Dairy products like cheese (hard or soft), yogurt, ice cream, and butter are all products that can be shipped. However, the key to shipping them is knowing and applying the correct shipping methods. These methods will differ based on the products you're shipping.

Regardless, with any product you ship, maintaining the quality of the product is the top priority. Quality will never increase during the shipping process; it's either maintained or decreased. 

Convenience, reliability, and flexibility are three of many reasons customers turn to eCommerce. This is especially true when it comes to purchasing dairy products. If quality dairy products are what you're looking for, then going straight to the source (ie. dairy farm) is the best possible option.

Although, it is not the most convenient nor practical. So, being able to ship dairy products that people love right to their doorstep is ideal. 

Things to Know About Shipping Dairy Products

As a dairy distributor, your main concern should be ensuring that the product you've shipped out meets their needs. Knowing how to ship perishable food will save you from dealing with many issues down the line.

When customers place an order for food products online they expect the following in return:

  1. That the items they've purchased arrive in a reasonable amount of time (ideally via overnight shipping). Nobody wants to receive a dairy product that's been sitting in a warehouse for days, or in a delivery truck even longer. This is one of the easiest ways to compromise the quality and taste of dairy products. 
  2. Customers expect their products to arrive in a safe condition. Moreover, the visual appearance of the product they bought online looks the same in person. As such, the majority of dairy products are meant to be kept cool before, during, and after the shipping journey. 

While quality is always the goal, it's important to remember that offering customers a positive experience will outshine anything else. Shipping dairy items require that you keep the products as cold as possible during transit.

The shipping process will never be perfect, but you can prepare yourself and your customers by doing the following: 

  • Using the proper eCommerce Packaging for shipment
  • Understanding your products specific needs
  • Using the proper shipping methods 
  • Use Stickers
  • Using dry ice and gel packets to maintain product freshness

Let's discuss the above in more detail:

Packaging

When it comes to shipping dairy, you can't just stick cheese and milk into a box and call it a day. Dairy products are some of the most perishable items out there. Knowingly, you'll need to ship out dairy items using special packaging, like plastic bags or insulated boxes.

This will help mitigate moisture from spreading. Finally, your dairy products should fit comfortably, without wiggle room, in whatever box you ship with. 

Shipping Methods

When shipping dairy products, it's best to use expedited shipping and overnight shipping methods. Flat rate shipping just won't do the trick here. What eCommerce shipping company you use is up to you as costs will vary across the board.

However, make sure that whatever company you use like FedEx, UPS, and USPS can handle your products accordingly. More than this, know that the heavier the items, the greater the shipping cost. 

Use Stickers

Another way to ensure that your items are handled with care is to use labels or stickers. Unless you use specific shipping handlers, like cold freight companies, your products will be mixed in with various other products.

So, best practice suggests that you place cold food warning items on your packages. Stickers like "Keep Refrigerated," or "Perishable Items" add an extra layer of protection.

While you can't ever 100% guarantee drivers will handle your products accordingly even with the labels, you'll at least know you've done everything you could. So will your customers. 

Gel and Dry Ice 

Packing your items using frozen gel and dry ice packets will keep everything cold after it leaves your warehouse. Generally, it'll cost you an extra $3-$4 to include these. However, customers love to see these extra methods and precautions.

It lets them know that you care about providing them with fresh products. As a general rule of thumb, place about five pounds of dry ice in your shipment for every 24 hours it's estimated to be in transit.

Never handle dry ice with your bare hands, and include a dry ice warning label inside the packaging for your customers. 

How Do You Start a Wholesale Dairy Business?

Starting an eCommerce business is no easy task. To start, you'll need three things: knowledge, patience, time, and money. As dairy wholesale is a very specific area to start in, it can be even more difficult to get started. 

Before you dive headfirst into starting a business, it's best that you begin by conducting research and developing an eCommerce business plan. Research what's missing in the current market and how your business plans to solve that.

Then look into your competitors and conduct an eCommerce competitor analysis. From there, you can build your website or join an online marketplace like BlueCart

With the right eCommerce SEO strategy, you'll be able to grow your wholesale dairy business in no time. Learn to focus on your customers' needs, like the best coffee roasters and cafes, and personalize your site. The more customers trust you, the better brand advocate they become. It'll also increase customer lifetime value. 

Finally, take advantage of marketing tools like social media. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are some of the best tools to use to grow your business. You'll want to find the platform where your business fits best; certain platforms are better for certain businesses while others are not. 

Where to Buy Wholesale Dairy Online

As you can see, there's no denying that dairy is one of the most universal products out there. Many are adamant that dairy, especially milk, is essential for our bodies--especially while we're young.

Whether you're an advocate for organic milk or conventional dairy, there's a wholesaler out there that'll meet your needs.

We've done some research and here's our take on some of the best fresh dairy suppliers out there: 

Dutch Meadows Farm

Dutch Meadows Farm is a family-owned and operated dairy farm that's been in its family for over 3 years. Dutch Meadows is passionate about providing customers with high-quality, safe, and healthy products organically raised for over 20 years. 

More than this, Dutch Meadows Farm regularly partners with several other locally owned farms. They're all just as dedicated to providing dairy that is free from pesticides, chemicals, and growth hormones. All livestock is treated with care on their farm, allowing them to experience a high-quality life. 

Dutch Meadows offers a wide range of products. From beef to chicken, butter and cream, goat milk and organic milk, eggs, and even produce wholesale. Their products are available for purchase online and in-store. 

Raw Farm USA

Raw Farm USA is a family farm that provides high-quality dairy products. Overall, their goal is to provide customers with products that improve their health while also sustaining the environment.

Raw dairy products are fairly new, and they're also highly stigmatized. However, Raw Farms aims to change the narrative surrounding raw products. 

Raw Farms spent 20 years perfecting their process in order to ensure that everything they offer is pure, safe, and healthy for consumers to eat. 

If you'd like to learn more about raw dairy products, their website provides a slew of information for interested customers. More than this, they strive to provide the full picture, with no bias. 

Shatto Home Delivery

Shatto Home Delivery is a vastly different dairy wholesaler than its competitors. All in all, Shatto strives to revive the classic milkman with its delivery services. They focus on providing fresh milk from high-quality farms and healthy animals. 

Shatto Home Delivery offers shipping across the United States. Though they now offer a variety of products, dairy is the main focus. You'll find their store offers various milk, cheese, butter, and cream products. With their storefront, you can mix and match products or subscribe to weekly bundles.

Whether you need a few items to get you through the week, or you need a bulk delivery they'll provide you with just what you need. More than this, they also cater to those customers with gluten intolerances while many other stores don't.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shipping Dairy 

How Do You Send Dairy in the Mail?

You can ship dairy in the mail by using temperature-safe packing and expedited shipping methods. You may have to search for these products yourself, or you can partner with a shipping company that provides this packaging for you. 

What Temperature Should Dairy Products be Shipped?

By law, you must maintain the temperature of milk and other dairy products at a temperature of 45 degrees or below. Bacteria starts to grow at temperatures above 45 degrees, so 40 degrees and below is necessary to protect the quality of your dairy. 

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Dairy?

The cost to ship dairy will vary depending on the weight and content of your package. On average you can expect shipping to cost anywhere from $8 to $20, sometimes more depending on the contents. 

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