UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This semester, students at three Penn State campuses — Altoona, Hazleton and Behrend — are enjoying more than just Penn State Berkey Creamery ice cream at campus dining halls and convenience stores.
The Creamery now is providing these campuses with milk, juices, teas, iced coffees and cultured products such as yogurts, cream cheese and sour cream.
“We’ve been working to increase Creamery products in dining halls, grab-and-go locations, on-campus eateries, c-stores, Beaver Stadium, the Bryce Jordan Center and the Nittany Lion Inn to satisfy ever-increasing requests,” said Creamery Assistant Manager Jim Brown, who said this project has been in the works for a few years. “We couldn’t do this without a good partnership with Penn State’s Housing and Food Services.”
Housing and Food Services supports all the dining needs at University Park and other campuses. Perishable items are delivered directly to dining locations, but products such as frozen foods, flour for the bakery, sugar for the Creamery, cups, takeout containers and anything else for dining hall facilities are delivered by the University Park Housing and Food Services warehouse. The facility has space for dry storage, refrigerated space and freezer space to ensure products like Creamery ice cream never have to leave the right temperature zone.
John Mondock, director of purchasing for Housing and Food Services, explained that requests for more than just ice cream at other campuses were the starting point for the idea to bring more Creamery products to all Penn State students.
“We always want to promote the Creamery brand because it is really part of what makes Penn State, Penn State,” Mondock said. “The Creamery is a popular and well-liked brand and a great partner.”
Starting in August, the three campuses began receiving all their dairy products from the Creamery. These particular campuses were chosen because they represent a variety of campus sizes and student populations. Both Mondock and Brown said they hope to be able to support more campuses in the future.
“The question is, how do we make it logistically feasible from a supply chain standpoint to ensure it is successful and efficient?” Mondock said.
For the success of this venture, the first challenge for the Creamery was increasing production at the University Park location. Brown explained that compared to the rest of the dairy industry, the Creamery is a relatively small producer.
Warehouse storage became the second and perhaps more pressing issue.
“We can produce more product in almost the same amount of time by increasing the line speed,” Brown said. “But when it comes to storage, now instead of just pulling orders for University Park, we also have to find space to pull orders for the other campuses.”
Once the Creamery has produced and packaged the orders, pallets are delivered to the Housing and Food Services warehouse. The Creamery products then are loaded onto trucks that already are scheduled to make deliveries of other items — anything from paper napkins to frozen french fries — to the other campuses.
“It was a natural fit to combine Creamery orders with the deliveries we’re already making,” Mondock said.
Karen Kreger, a senior director for Housing and Food Services, has been with Penn State for almost 25 years. She said students have been asking for Creamery products at campuses statewide for as long as she can remember.
“Being able to go to any Penn State location and get Creamery ice cream has been an exciting development,” she said. “Students, faculty, staff and alumni are all thrilled. The Creamery may be based at University Park but sharing the products at other campuses makes the University feel a little smaller and brings us together. When you think of Penn State, you think of the Creamery. And who doesn’t love the Creamery?”
Brown stressed the importance of creating good partnerships within the University.
“With one truck and one driver making deliveries, we wouldn’t be able to service campuses spread across the state without help from Housing and Food Services,” he said. “It’s not just about a partnership between the Creamery and the campuses, it’s the Creamery and Housing and Food Services working together as a team to serve the entire University community.”