BUILDING on its successful partnership to help grow sales and trust for dairy in the U.S., the national dairy checkoff announced a partnership Nov. 3 with Yum! Brands to grow U.S. dairy sales internationally, specifically in the Asia Pacific as well as Latin America and the Caribbean.
Yum! Brands, the parent company of Kentucky Fried Chicken (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 dairy checkoff's international partnership focuses on pilot programs with KFC and Pizza Hut.
The 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, an 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 expanding U.S. dairy sales by co-leading a pilot program with Pizza Hut to reach customers in the Asian Pacific at its more than 2,500 restaurants in 15 countries. Customers have an appetite for U.S. dairy: Pizza Hut sources 100% of its string cheese — which is used in stuffed-crust pizzas — for the Asia-Pacific restaurants from the U.S., 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, chief executive officer of Yum! Brands. "I'm incredibly excited about taking this relationship to international markets."
The KFC and Pizza Hut partnerships both will include on-site checkoff resources and will focus on developing innovative, dairy-centric menu items.
This approach is based on the successful model from working with Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in the U.S., 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.
DMI is funded by America's more than 43,000 dairy farmers and dairy importers.
KFC, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, is the world's most popular chicken restaurant chain — a global brand with a rich, decades-long history of success and innovation.
Pizza Hut, also a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, delivers more pizza, pasta and wings than any other restaurant in the world. The company began 58 years ago in Wichita, Kan., when two brothers borrowed $600 from their mom to start a pizzeria. What started out small has become the biggest pizza company in the world, today operating more than 15,600 restaurants in more than 100 countries.