dairy supply glanbia nutrtionals

Dairy Supply Keeps on Trucking with Essential Workers

“Keep it clean, keep it cold, keep it moving” is the motto for truck drivers in the dairy supply chain. Across the country, truck drivers are on the road for up to eleven hours a day to make sure the food on which we depend reaches its destination. Here we celebrate our essential truck drivers and see what it takes to keep the dairy supply chain moo-ving!

Truck Drivers Essential at Every Step

Truck drivers are often unsung heroes, working behind the scenes to support manufacturing of every kind. Whether picking up raw materials or dropping off finished products, truck drivers are essential to keeping supply chains moving. Nowhere is this role more vital than in the food industry.

Moving the Milk

The dairy supply chain is an example of how important a single supply chain can be. Dairy products are purchased by 97.7 percent of U.S. households, with the average household buying dairy products forty-four times a year.1 All dairy products depend upon a highly perishable starting material: raw milk. 

Milk must be moved quickly from the dairy farm to the milk processor, where it can be pasteurized and standardized. Last year, 218 billion pounds of milk were produced in the U.S.,2 requiring the services of countless truck drivers to transport it to the next stage in the supply chain.

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Driving the Milk Tanker

The truck drivers at the beginning of the dairy supply chain are driving milk tankers. These insulated tanker trucks are designed for carrying liquids and typically hold around six thousand gallons of milk. Once the driver pulls into the dairy farm, the chilled raw milk is pumped from a refrigerated storage tank on the farm into the cleaned and sanitized tanker truck. If the dairy farm has produced enough milk to fill the truck, then the next stop is the milk processor. Otherwise, the driver will go from farm to farm, collecting more milk until the truck is full.

Hauling milk while the tanker isn't yet full is not for the faint of heart. If the driver brakes too hard, the surge of the moving liquid will push the truck forward. It takes practice to learn how to shift, brake, and turn safely with milk moving around in the tanker. After the driver reaches the milk processor, the raw milk is pumped out of the tanker truck and into the facility.

Moving the Dairy Products

Once the milk has been processed for safety and uniformity, it’s ready to be used as the raw material for a wide variety of ingredients and finished products. Processed milk can be filled into milk tankers or packed into totes or drums and loaded onto tractor-trailers to be delivered to ingredient and food manufacturers.

Manufacturers might receive milk directly to use in making cheese, yogurt, ice cream and other dairy products. The whey that comes from of the cheese making process can be further microfiltered and ultra-filtered into a range of whey proteins and other nutritious ingredients. To transport products to distribution centers and then to either other manufacturers or retailers, again we rely on the commitment of truck drivers to get the job done.

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Celebrating Our Essential Truck Drivers

Here at Glanbia Nutritionals, truck drivers are there for us every step of the way. They bring us the milk we need to make our dairy ingredients and also deliver these ingredients to the manufacturers who need them. Truck drivers play a key role in keeping Americans supplied with the delicious and nutritious dairy products they love. Thank you to the essential truck drivers and to our own team members who are faithfully working during these difficult times.

Our team members are committed to being there for our customers! To learn about using our dairy ingredients in your products, contact Glanbia Nutritionals.


1. Marchat. (2018). Consumers’ Expectations in Dairy Products Changing. Retrieved from https://www.theshelbyreport.com/2018/05/25/consumers-dairy-expectations-changing/
2. USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. (2020). Milk Production. ISSN: 1949-1557. Retrieved from https://downloads.usda.library.cornell.edu/usda-esmis/files/h989r321c/z603rf49q/b2774d05q/mkpr0220.pdf

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