Tillamook Cheese is actually pretty good… except when it misbehaves. I started buying their cheese several years ago, because (1) I like real cheese instead of “cheese product” and (2) Tillamook is supposedly a small independent company.
And since my largest use of cheese is for sandwiches, I was pleased to use their sliced cheddar. And until this past year I’ve been happy. But now I am not.
The last 3-4 times I’ve purchased their sliced cheddar, the separating papers have been misplaced and the cheese sticks together.
This is how their sliced cheddar presents from the package:
You have to very gently lift the paper separator and hope the cheese holds together so as you lift the slice the rest of it doesn’t do this:
You can see I was able to lift up part of the slice beyond the paper, but there’s a huge chunk remaining stuck to the slice below. Trying to pry it off results in that chunk crumbling into smaller and smaller bits. Even if I slide a knife underneath and attempt to ever-so-gently tease the piece up, it comes off in pieces.
If they are going to bother with paper separators at all, the paper needs to be large enough to actually work for the entire slice and not just ‘most’ of it. It should not require a person to have to reach for a knife every friggin’ time you want a slice, instead of a handful of crumbles. It is annoying as hell, and makes for a truly gawd-awful presentation if you are trying to impress company. And I am just as deserving as anyone of a proper presentation, right?
So, I DID use the contact form on their Web site and expressed my concerns on the 21st. Today is the 24th. The only response I got was this:
Hi!Thanks for contacting us here at Tillamook! We'll be sure to get back to you soon. Thanks in advance for your patience, because even though we have many different kinds of cheese, we only have one ultra-happy, super-helpful, always-friendly, really-smart, totally cheesetastic person to help answer your questions and pass along your comments to the rest of our farmer-owned co-op.In the meantime, have you taken a look at our FAQs? Or have you searched our website foranswers? It's possible someone else had the same question!Thanks again for taking the time to contact us. Your question is very important to us and we'll be in touch soon!All the best, The Tillamook Team
Haven’t heard back yet from a real live human person. How many more packages should I buy? Or do I just switch over to Sargento or some other brand?
UPDATE: 7 November 2012:
I just received this response:
Thank you for contacting Tillamook. We appreciate that you have taken the time to make us aware of this situation. This is not the quality you have come to expect from the Tillamook brand.
When sliced, our cheddar continues to age and gets a little stickier, a common occurrence in naturally aged cheese. Because of the character of our naturally aged sliced cheese, the options for packaging are limited. We understand our current packaging process is not ideal, leading to the cheese slices knitting back together and the paper separators sticking to the cheese slice.
We are trying to resolve the packaging issues in three ways. We are closely monitoring the paper between the slices to determine if the paper is being consistently inserted properly and to the right depth. We are also experimenting with a different paper composition that will allow for the cheese slice to separate without breaking. We are also looking at different methods of sealing the package to reduce separation problems. We hope that one or all of these resolutions will succeed in producing the type of quality Tillamook product that you have come to expect. I assure you that we will continue to research until we resolve this issue. Thank you for your patience.
Thank you for providing us with your mailing address, I will follow up shortly by return mail with replacement coupons for Tillamook Cheese.
Consumer Loyalty Specialist