• Dairy.com starts spot market cheese exchange on the Web

DALLAS -- Seeking to simplify buying and selling of cheese between manufacturers and the foodservice and retail foods industries, Dairy.com launched an all-inclusive Cheese Exchange on Nov. 6.

The dairy-only Web site launched as a fluid milk exchange in January.

The Cheese Exchange site allows sellers and buyers to conduct round-the-clock trades of any cheese type or grade. According to Chris Renner, executive vice president for Dairy.com, the site also is designed to reduce multiple steps associated with sourcing spot purchases.

"For first time in the industry's history, cheese sellers have a place to post cheese for sale and market that to anybody that buys bulk cheese," said Renner. "On the flipside of that, cheese buyers now have a single place to view inventory from all sellers rather than having to source that information from a phone call, or by fax or e-mails. We make it simple."

Renner said the site was born out of a need for a spot market for all cheeses, not just Grade I cheddar that's traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He estimated that 5-10 percent of the 8 billion pounds of cheese made in the U.S. each year is typically available for spot purchases, but that sellers of that cheese often struggle to locate buyers easily.

"That's 400 to 800 million pounds of cheese sold on the spot market each year," Renner said. "We're talking about a pretty significant amount of cheese out there."

Ideally, Renner said, trades will be conducted in loads, 40,000-pound units moved on the CME's spot market. Buyers looking for less-than-load (LTL) quantities are still allowed post orders.

To date, 30 member companies representing 120 dairy manufacturing plants have already registered for the Dairy.com exchange. Some of the largest include Kraft, Leprino, Sorrento Lactalis, Land O' Lakes, Dairy Farmers of America, and ConAgra Dairy Foods.

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