The parent of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell has entered into a marketing agreement with The National Dairy Checkoff, a mandatory program by which milk producers ‘contribute’ to a fund used to promote greater use of dairy products. Yum! Brands and Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI), the company that manages the checkoff program, see their joint venture as an opportunity to “raise U.S. Dairy’s profile” globally, according to an article on DeliMarketNews.com.
“Working to get more cheese on chicken sandwiches is a great opportunity to grow sales,” said Paul Rovey, the Arizona dairy farmer who is chair of DMI. “Beyond cheese, this partnership also can help create products that grow milk and milk-based drink sales, along with ice cream and other dessert-based items.”
In addition to adding U.S.-produced cheese to sandwiches in global markets, the pilot program is also looking to explore innovative new strategies, such as introducing cheese sauces in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The partnership’s pilot program involves promoting U.S. dairy products through offerings at KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants. Yum! Brands, which boasts nearly 43,000 restaurants in 135 countries and territories, is a global leader in pizza, chicken, and Mexican-style restaurant food categories, and is poised to raise U.S. dairy’s profile..
A pilot program in Asia Pacific is also underway looking to add U.S. dairy products in some 2,500 Pizza Hut restaurants in 15 countries. The program is looking to maximize the profile of U.S. cheese in menu items. Stuffed-crust pizzas, for example, use string cheese sourced entirely from the U.S, according to Enrique Ramirez, Chief Financial and Strategic Officer for Pizza Hut, and innovative menu offerings like this can significantly increase U.S. dairy sales abroad.
“U.S. dairy farmers, importers and DMI have brought us tremendous value in dairy expertise and innovation,” said Greg Creed, CEO of Yum! Brands. “I’m incredibly excited about taking this relationship to international markets.”
The pilot programs’ approach is based on the successful model, employed by the partnership through Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in the U.S, which focused on on-site Checkoff employees working with the food service companies to develop dairy-friendly menu items like Pizza Hut’s Grilled Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza and Taco Bell’s Quesalupa.