Providence, Rhode Island-based United Natural Foods Inc. has doubled the size of its American Artisan Cheese and Specialty Program. Launched in 2020 to give customers access to unique craft cheeses sourced from all over the nation, UNFI reports the program has been so successful that it has expanded it to a second warehouse to serve customers.
UNFI customers utilizing the program can order from a group of producers from each region across the country, such as Jasper Hill Farm of Vermont, Green Dirt Farms of Missouri, Tulip Tree Creamery of Indiana, and Cowgirl Creamery of California. Handled with attention, the majority of products are flown directly from each farm though a partnership with Southwest Airlines, personally picked up at the airport and delivered to each retailer, ensuring they receive the freshest product.
After the expansion to the second warehouse, the American Artisan Cheese program serves more than 200 retailers across six states, doubling the program’s size since its launch in fall of 2020.
“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,” said Rebekah Baker, director of cheese and specialty at UNFI.
“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.”
Cheers for cheese
UNFI is also extending its American cheese category expertise with support for the annual American Cheese Society judging and competition, the largest event of its kind for American-made cheeses. With judging taking place on May 19-20 at the Huntington Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota, the competition will highlight top American cheesemakers for both quality cheesemaking and their commitment to food safety.
A UNFI Cheese Specialist will participate as a judge this year, and the company will also donate refrigerated trailers to store more than 6,000 pounds of cheese for the event.
“Partnering with true category experts from UNFI and to have their support is what makes this event possible,” said Tara Holmes, ACS executive director. “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.”
To learn more, visit unfifresh.com/tonys.