The national dairy checkoff program's strategic partnerships led to a 4.2-billion-pound increase of dairy product sold for the 12 months ending July 2011. Much of that success was achieved through its business strategy of partnering with industry leaders, including McDonald's and Domino's Pizza, reports Vernon Horst, Pennsylvania dairy producer and chairman of Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association.
"This year's progress further validates that the checkoff business plan is on the right track," says Horst. Here's a quick look at some key 2011 results:
Partnerships with companies such as Domino's increased domestic disappearance of mostly mozzarella cheeses by 3.2% -- eating the equivalent of nearly 2 billion additional pounds of milk. Domino's, for instance, is growing cheese sales through its use of more cheese, carryout promotions its kid-approved Smart Slice school pizza program now in more than 300 U.S. school districts.
McDonald's dairy-friendly menu program is in its third year. It has added more than 1 billion pounds of additional dairy sales via its 14,000-plus U.S. locations in the United States with the introduction of several new dairy-friendly menu items. Early this year, a new fat-free, chocolate milk will be offered as the default beverage with all Happy Meals.
McDonald's success with its McCaf? menu – including milk-based beverages and specialty coffees – has inspired other chains to focus on this business. And, the dairy checkoff program has six employees on site at McDonald's corporate offices – the only product represented there – to provide dairy expertise and ensure dairy plays a prominent role in new product development.
The checkoff's in-school Fuel Up to Play 60 program is now in more than 70,000 schools nationwide to help protect dairy's "freedom to operate" and reach the industry's future consumers – youth. Done in partnership with the National Football League, FUTP 60 encourages students to consume nutrient-rich foods (including low-fat and fat-free dairy) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
2011 dairy export volume now represents more than 13% of total milk solids production – two out of every three new pounds of milk produced domestically, thanks in part to the work of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, which receives the majority of its funding through the dairy checkoff.
Partnerships with leading lactose-free dairy marketers, such as HP Hood and its Lactaid brand, are boosting category sales, thanks to new products and packaging, along with efforts to educate health professionals. This outreach is helping change lactose intolerance perceptions.
For more information about producer-funded checkoff programs, visit www.Dairyspot.com .