Whether you run a quirky local cafe or a sophisticated rooftop restaurant, making sure you store all food products correctly is essential to serving delicious food, preventing food poisoning, and staying compliant with all health and safety regulations. After all, if you don’t store food correctly, it can perish quickly and, if served, could make your customers feel poorly.

This is especially true if you’re serving dairy products. Dairy products typically have a shorter shelf life than other foods, particularly dry foods, so it’s imperative to make sure you store these according to regulations. However, this isn’t the only reason why it’s so important to ensure you’re storing all dairy products properly.

A well-organised stock room is essential to any successful business, whether you work in an office or a car garage, however, this is particularly important for companies in the food industry. You’ll be working against the clock to whip up delectable meals from morning until night, so making sure all products are easy to find is key to running a fast-paced eatery.

As one of the UK’s leading yoghurt suppliers, it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about organising stock rooms and storing dairy products correctly. Throughout this blog, we’ll discuss important reasons for doing so while sharing our top storage tips.

The importance of organising your stock room

As we’ve mentioned previously, there are many reasons to spend time organising your stock room and making sure you’ve stored all dairy products correctly, including:

Maximise efficiency

In any business, maximising efficiency is essential to success. This is especially true for those in the food industry, so making sure your cooking and catering staff can navigate your stock room with ease is imperative to maintaining excellent service and impressing customers.

Minimise waste

Without an organised stock room or any kind of organisation system, it’s likely that perishable food will get forgotten about and pushed to the back of the shelves. Over time, the cost of wasted food products will begin to add up and have an impact on your finances. Throwing out food waste also has a negative effect on the environment, which is something all businesses should be hoping to avoid.

Stay compliant

For commercial kitchens in the UK, there are regulations put in place to ensure that all food is stored and prepared correctly. This is to prevent the spread of bacteria and minimise the risk of any customers contracting food poisoning, so making sure you abide by these regulations is critical. A well-organised stock room area is essential for this reason, as any room without an established labelling and stocking system is sure to breed confusion.

Top tips for organising your stock room and storing dairy products correctly

While the reasons for organising your stock room are clear, how to go about achieving this may not be. Here we share our top tips for doing so, in addition to making sure your dairy food products are stored in the refrigerator correctly.

Control your refrigerator’s temperature

When it comes to storing dairy products correctly, one of the most important things to consider is the temperature of your refrigerators. Storing your dairy products at the incorrect temperature will lead them to spoil, create foul odours and contaminate other foods.

To prevent this, they should be stored at a temperature of between 2-4°C at all times. Make sure you invest in a good thermometer and double-check the temperature of your fridges more than once a day, just to be sure that your dairy products won’t spoil.

Use vertical shelving

In any stock room, the last thing you want to deal with is a cluttered or overcrowded floor. At an absolute bare minimum, you need to make sure that your eatery’s stock cupboard has the appropriate shelving to keep all food products off the ground and easily accessible to your cooking and waiting staff.

For this reason, vertical shelving is necessary for every commercial kitchen. Having boxes all over the floor simply doesn’t promote a positive image and could also become an obstruction to your staff, causing slips and trips and slowing down business. Additionally, all food products should be kept at least 15 centimetres off the floor in order to avoid contamination.

Use the first in, first out system

Leading on from our previous point, it’s important to make sure you have an established food storage system in place to promote efficiency. It’s recommended that you apply the ‘first in, first out’ process to your storage systems – especially for perishables such as dairy and meat – as this will allow you to keep track of your produce and minimise food waste.

Quite simply, the FIFO method requires you to store food with the longest shelf life at the back of your shelving, leaving room at the front for products with the most immediate use-by date. So, for instance, when packing away dairy produce, you’ll need to put packaged cheese, yoghurt, cream and milk with the longest shelf life at the back of the fridge, and make sure the products that have been stored in there the longest are pushed to the front.

Keep your wholesale milk products in a separate fridge

Even if your stock room is fairly small, it’s best practice to make sure your dairy products are kept in a separate refrigerator to all fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. This will help you ensure that they remain fresh for as long as possible while minimising the risk of any cross-contamination.

Having a separate fridge will give you the space to create an efficient FIFO system, as you’ll be able to rotate products more easily. It will also help your cheese, milk and yoghurts maintain their freshness and stop them from developing an unusual taste, as their high fat content means they’re likely to absorb odours from the other products around them.

Designate shelves to particular food products

When it comes to packing your stock room shelves with food, you need to make sure you’re thinking carefully about which food product goes where. This is important to prevent contamination between different types of food – especially perishable items such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Most importantly, you need to make sure that all meat and fish products are kept on the lowest shelf possible. These goods should never be stored above cooked or ready-to-eat foods as juices could drip and spread bacteria, so make sure you keep them in a sealed container on the bottom shelf of your fridge.

Typically, dairy products should be kept on the top shelves. This is because they’re classed as ‘ready to eat’ products, and won’t be prepared in such a way that kills off bacteria – unlike vegetables and meat. With this in mind, they need to be kept in their original packaging and as far away as possible from raw goods.

Label all food products

There are many ways to label your food products, but one of the most important pieces of information to include on any system is the product’s use-by date. After all, you simply cannot guess when it comes to serving food to your customers; cooking with ingredients that have gone past their use-by date will not only compromise the taste of your meals, but could also give your customers food poisoning.

You can’t rely on the smell of milk or cheese to let you know whether it’s out of date – your employees will look to your labelling system for this information. With this in mind, make sure you establish an efficient labelling system and include all important information, such as an ingredients list (with allergens highlighted in bold) and storage advice.

Clean your shelving and refrigerators regularly

When it comes to storing edible products, making sure you take hygiene seriously is essential. Storing your food in an unclean environment could encourage the build-up and spread of bacteria, which is something all food businesses need to prevent.

With this in mind, you need to make sure that you clean all storage surfaces frequently. Ideally, this will be every day, especially if you’ve noticed a spillage or leak. You also need to make sure that, in addition to your shelving, you’re also spending time cleaning your refrigerators.

After all, this is where you’ll store perishable items such as meat and dairy products, which need to be stored in a particular way to stop the spread of bacteria. The surfaces they’re stored on must be cleaned daily in order to make sure any juices are mopped up and can’t cause cross-contamination, so make sure this is part of your daily routine.

Hoping to bulk buy milk, bulk yoghurt or any other dairy products for your eatery? Look no further than Freshways

If you’re looking for wholesale food suppliers you can trust to stock your refrigerator with top-quality dairy products, you needn’t look further than Freshways. We’re proud to have become one of the leading wholesale food suppliers in the UK, while still maintaining the customer-first ethos that first inspired our family-run business.

In addition to supplying bulk butter, cheese, milk and cream, we also stock a wide range of baked goods and spreads for customers across the UK. We work with bakeries, hotels and retailers across the country to deliver the freshest wholesale goods possible, and are committed to putting customer satisfaction at the forefront of everything we do.

So, whether you’re looking for an egg supplier for your bakery or a milk supplier for your retail establishment, Freshways is here for you. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch today for more information about our range of services.