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Why does shipping cheese seem so dang expensive?

June 23, 2020

Why does shipping cheese seem so dang expensive?

The simple answer is this. Because it is. Everything is more expensive when you buy direct on the internet from a small, artisan producer.

Cheese is a perishable product that requires both speedy delivery and heavy ice packs to keep the product safe during transport. Express delivery of a weighty box is the dreaded “one-two punch” of shipping expenses.

Additionally, it’s ridiculously expensive to make small batch cheese while paying our employee-family a livable wage and offering health and retirement benefits. Margins are smaller because of the way we chose run our business; therefore, there’s less wiggle room when it comes to discounts and promos.

We offer free shipping for orders over $75. After a decade in the eCommerce game, a Beehive cart over $75 is the magic number so that we can offer free shipping and not lose money selling online.

It can be a bit jarring when you reach checkout to see what shipping actually costs. Ten years ago, when we started selling online, we decided to be transparent about shipping costs instead of inflating product prices to cover the appearance of “free shipping.” We knew this decision could result in a few abandoned carts along the way and couple nasty comments on our social posts.

FREE shipping is never actually free, even at Amazon.

Every retailer, from Amazon to the little guys like us, must pay a carrier to deliver packages. Period.

It should be no surprise that Amazon has a huge advantage when it comes to offering lower shipping prices to consumers. Due to the sheer volume of packages shipped daily from Amazon fulfillment centers, they have the power to negotiate the lowest rates with carriers.

Amazon also has their own fleet of contracted delivery people, who sadly, aren’t making much for the level of work they’re doing. At the end of the day, it can be argued that the free shipping you’re enjoying at Amazon comes at the expense of the contracted driver barreling down your street to meet their break-neck delivery schedule.

Good, bad, or indifferent, the expectation that Amazon has set for eCommerce has changed the consumer mindset. It has affected small, hand-crafted producers like us who chose to manage their online sales independently and conduct business in a way that feels right for us.

Artisan cheesemakers like us can’t afford to compete with Amazon. That’s fine, we accept that, and we’ve priced our product to reflect the true cost.

More about delivery services

Many delivery services, like Instacart, cost way more than you think and are far more expensive to use. Let’s consider a cart totaling $75 from your local grocer delivered by Instacart. You’ll pay a $7.99 delivery fee plus a $15 tip (20%) equaling $22.99 for delivery of the product to your door. In addition to those fees, the products listed on the app are marked-up by anywhere from 30-90% above the in-store price. We only change you $14.99 for Express delivery and our cheese is priced to be the same online as in your local grocery store.

These fee strategies aren’t that far off from other delivery services like GrubHub and UberEats.

The take-away

If you’ve made it to the end of this blog post, thank you! Maybe we changed your mindset about the delivery of our cheese? Maybe not.

When it comes to buying hand-crafted perishable products, the economics will look different than shelf stable, commodity goods. Specialty cheese is just that. It’s special and worth it.





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Cheese Wedges

The Beehive Cheese brand promise is at the core of our everyday whey of life. This promise reflects who we are as a family-run company and our promise to our customers. If you have a problem with your cheese we will make it right. Our promise to you is simply this; Great Cheese, No Excuses.

Apple Walnut Smoked

This cheese is cold-smoked in small batches using local Utah walnut wood and slices of red apple. Apple Walnut Smoked has a subtle sweet and nutty flavor with a hint of smoke. 

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Quality Ingredients

Apple Walnut Smoked is made from the milk of Jersey cows from Ogden’s Wadeland South Dairy. Wadeland’s Jersey cows enjoy 350 acres near the salty marshes, ponds and mudflats of the mineral-loaded soil of the Great Salt Lake.

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Barely Buzzed

Unique espresso and lavender hand-rubbed cheese with subtle notes of butterscotch and caramel. Made from the milk of Jersey cows; this is a full-bodied cheese with a smooth, creamy texture. Barely Buzzed is our most popular cheese and is considered by many to be a great American original.

Quality Ingredients

It’s all about the rub. Colorado Legacy Fine Coffee's produces a Beehive Blend of South American, Central American, and Indonesian beans roasted in different styles exclusively for Barely Buzzed. It turns out the love for food and artisan craftsmanship runs in the family. The owner and roaster of Colorado Legacy Fine Coffee is the brother of cheesemaker Tim Welsh.

Our unique espresso blend is then mixed with French Superior lavender buds and freshly ground onsite. The mixture is diluted with oil to suspend the dry ingredients in the rub. Rubbing the cheese produces notes of butterscotch and caramel near the rind, which find their way to the center of the cheese.

Barely Buzzed is aged in our humidity controlled facility and then moved to two different temperatures during the aging process to develop texture and flavor.

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Interesting fact

The name "Barely Buzzed" came from Andrea at Deluxe Foods in California. She was the winner of the “Name this Cheese” contest.

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Big John's Cajun

This spicy hand-rubbed cheese packs a heated punch as you near the rind. Made from the milk of local Jersey cows in Northern Utah, the combination of sweet creaminess and spice make it a great addition to any cheese plate.

Quality Ingredients

The spice is right! Our Cajun rub was developed by local Ogden, UT chef John Dearmin using only the finest ingredients. Unlike typical Cajun rub, Big John uses cayenne pepper instead of paprika. Sorry, the rest of the recipe is top secret. The spiciness of the rub is a nice compliment to the creamy texture of the cheese. Watch out, this cheese packs a heated punch as you near the rind.

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Promontory

As the patriarch of the Beehive family of cheeses, Promontory is an Irish-style cheese with buttery, full-bodied texture and snappy, citrus-like fruity notes.

Quality Ingredients

Promontory, as well as all Beehive cheeses, is made from the milk of Jersey cows from Ogden’s Wadeland South Dairy. Wadeland’s Jersey cows enjoy 350 acres near the salty marshes, ponds and mudflats of the mineral-loaded soil of the Great Salt Lake. The same nutrient-rich soil that feeds thousands of migrating birds, feeds the lush alfalfa that the cows love to eat.

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Interesting Fact

Jersey cows are the smallest, and arguably the cutest, of dairy cow breeds. Despite their small size, they produce milk with the highest protein and fat content. Higher fat and protein means the milk is creamier. This is why Beehive cheese crafts such beautifully creamy cheese. 

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Red Butte Hatch Chile

Beehive Cheese has a passion—to return to simple, local food. Our company’s efforts to use local ingredients gives our cheese and our company a sense of place.  This sense of place holds true for one of our oldest charitable partners, Red Butte Garden at the University of Utah and their mission to connect people with plants and the beauty of living landscapes. 

Beginning in 2018, Beehive Cheese Company will donate 3% of the gross sales of Red Butte Hatch Chile cheese to Red Butte Garden to further their efforts to maintain a place where nature and people connect.  

It makes sense for us to align with this local partner to create, support and make a difference in our community.  Buy some Red Butte Hatch Chile cheese today and help us support the landscape and lifestyle we love.

Quality Ingredients

Loaded with New Mexican Hatch Chiles, Red Butte Hatch Chile is proving to be one of our most popular cheeses among fans.  We mix spicy chilies into the cheese which are then pressed into the curd.  

Our signature rub contains dried chiles and spices which bring out floral and savory notes in the base cheese.

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Seahive

Hand-rubbed with local honey and Redmond RealSalt®, Seahive is a beautifully balanced treat. Made from the milk of Jersey cows in northern Utah, this is a full-bodied cheese with a smooth, creamy texture. SeaHive is shaping up to be one of our best cheeses. It is a true expression of our local flavors, superior quality and creativity.

Quality Ingredients

From the land of salt and honey. Our Seahive is hand-rubbed with wildflower honey harvested from a local farm and RealSalt® sea salt. RealSalt® is harvested from an ancient sea bed near Redmond, Utah and contains unique flecks of color from more than 50 natural trace minerals.

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Teahive

Leave it to the Beehive family to create another unique, delicious cheese!  Teahive is a “feel good” cheese. The soothing qualities of tea and the relaxing properties of bergamot combine to produce a lovely cheese with rich fragrances of orange blossoms in April. The creaminess of this Jersey cow cheese immediately delights the palate and the complexities of the tea-rubbed rind continue through the finish.

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Fully Loaded

Fully Loaded is fortified with rye whiskey. Bold and spicy, with hints of cinnamon, anise, and honey. The rye whiskey imparts a complex kick to Beehive’s creamy, Irish-style cow’s milk cheese

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