Cheese products
November 2, 2016

Dairy Checkoff Launches Partnership with Yum! Brands

 |  By: Mike Opperman

The national dairy checkoff today announced a partnership with Yum! Brands to grow U.S. dairy sales internationally, specifically in Asia Pacific, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean. This is the latest is a long term strategic plan to grow sales of U.S. dairy products through strategic partnerships.

Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell with nearly 43,000 restaurants in 135 countries and territories, is the global leader in the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style restaurant food categories. The checkoff’s international partnership focuses on pilot programs with Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut.

A pilot program with KFC aims to grow U.S. dairy sales in Latin America and the Caribbean by exploring innovation opportunities like cheese sauces and pairings to complement KFC’s signature international products, such as chicken sandwiches.

“Working to get more cheese on chicken sandwiches is a great opportunity to grow sales,” said Paul Rovey, Arizona dairy farmer and chair of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff. “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.”

The dairy checkoff also is growing U.S. dairy sales by co-leading a pilot program with Pizza Hut to reach customers in Asia Pacific at its more than 2,500 restaurants in 15 countries. Customers have an appetite for U.S. dairy – the company sources 100 percent of its string cheese for Asia Pacific, which is used in stuffed-crust pizzas, from the United States, according to Enrique Ramirez, chief financial and strategy officer for Pizza Hut.

“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.”

Both the KFC and Pizza Hut partnerships will include checkoff on-site resources, and will focus on developing innovative, dairy-centric menu items. This approach is based on the successful model working with Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in the United States, with on-site checkoff employees working with the foodservice companies to develop dairy-friendly menu items that include Pizza Hut’s Grilled Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza and Taco Bell’s Quesalupa.

For more information about the dairy checkoff, visit dairy.org.

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