A new dairy checkoff growth program with pizza partners is expected to drive a lot of additional cheese use during the rest of 2023. Paul Ziemnisky is Group EVP of Health and Wellness, Insights and Innovation with DMI. He says the bulk of the cheese will be used domestically with Domino’s and internationally through a major quick-serve restaurant pizza chain.
“It’s a big win for us. When you add the Domino’s program to this international player program, you’re looking at 12 million cheese pounds going through in the back half of this year incrementally. That’s big as we’re trying to help our farmers and move a lot of incremental volume.”
The work DMI and these two restaurant partners are doing together is going to move a lot more cheese this year. DMI is engaging with pizza restaurants to increase pizza consumption, which will lead to more U.S. cheese sales.
“It’s a different thing when we look at international. Pizza is still developing the household penetration across, whether it’s the Middle East, Africa, or Southeast. Asia, it’s a one- or two-times special moment. And so, for us, trying to increase that penetration in households to bring both enjoyment and growth is a huge opportunity for us. We’ve been working there since 2017 with some major players like a Domino’s or like a Pizza Hut.”
DMI works with many other food companies to encourage more dairy usage, including Taco Bell and McDonalds. Ziemnisky says the checkoff has a lot to offer these business partners, which in turn will benefit U.S. dairy producers.
“Our goal is to prove the opportunities, so we go in and bring insights around ways you can grow with dairy, so insights and innovation and growth spaces. Then what we offer up is the R & D expertise. Again, this is how we have on-site scientists or in some of these places, we have a pop-in scientist look across the supply chain. Hey, who can help these guys because we’re supplier agnostic, right? So, what we do is we can help develop the product and then say, ‘Hey, these are the 10 or 20 suppliers you guys go talk to.’ And then, we always have that lens – is it going to drive incremental sustainable sales for our farmers – that’s our focus.”
For more information about the dairy checkoff, visit www.usdairy.com/for-farmers.