ROSEMONT, Ill. — The dairy checkoff’s strategy of working with partners grew more dairy sales in 2013.
More than 12 billion additional pounds of dairy have been sold through checkoff partnerships over the last five years. Today, annual U.S. per capita consumption of total milk is an estimated 604 pounds (milkfat basis), compared to 541 in 1981, which was before the national checkoff program was created.
Much of this growth is made possible through the financial resources, expertise and other assets from processors, manufacturers, foodservice companies, retailers and others who work with the checkoff to maintain and grow sales.
Specific 2013 results include:
• Pizza moving more milk. About 10 billion pounds of additional milk have moved through the pizza category since the checkoff began partnering with Domino’s five years ago. Successes include the Domino’s Smart Slice line of school lunch pizza, now available in more than 450 districts in 39 states.
• New opportunities at McDonald’s. McDonald’s used more than 1.7 billion pounds of additional milk through dairy-friendly items between 2009 and 2011. The goal is to move an additional 3 billion pounds between 2012 and 2014. McDonald’s is testing or has introduced 27 new dairy-friendly products this year, thanks to support from onsite checkoff employees.
• Taco Bell unveiled new dairy-based items. The checkoff helped Taco Bell introduce double steak quesadillas and fancy cheese shreds that led to a 4-percent increase in dairy volume at the chain. DMI has provided an on-site dairy scientist, among other resources. The chain plans to launch a dairy-based breakfast menu in 2014 that will help grow Taco Bell’s dairy sales by 5 percent.
• Fluid milk action plan takes hold. The checkoff is leading the industry’s largest fluid milk action plan ever to slow and reverse sales declines through product and distribution innovation that will drive more consumers more frequently to the dairy case. The checkoff has invested $9 million; processors’ combined total is $81 million, a figure that could grow by the hundreds of millions the next several years.
• Quaker making it with milk. A Quaker-led promotion that encouraged consumers to use milk instead of water when preparing oatmeal led to a five-percent increase in fluid milk sales in 1,400 Safeway stores. Future efforts include new products, such as a breakfast shake featuring dairy, and Warm and Crunchy Oatmeal that can only be prepared with milk.
• Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy hosts food safety training. The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which producers founded in 2008, trained more than 1,200 industry staff members in food safety to minimize risk and protect dairy sales.The Innovation Center also helped secure nearly $10 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for research to support the Farm Smart tool to help producers assess their management practices.
• Consumer confidence effort protects sales. The checkoff’s consumer confidence initiative helps protect dairy sales by maintaining and building public trust in products, producers and the industry through conversations with consumers and thought leaders, including via social media.
• Fuel Up to Play 60 creates healthier schools. Fuel Up to Play 60, which the dairy checkoff created in 2008, is the nation’s largest in-school wellness program, with more than 73,000 schools enrolled.
• Exports experience record year. The U.S. Dairy Export Council has helped exporters capitalize on steady global demand, declining production from other suppliers and favorable pricing to ship record volume — at record values — in 2013. U.S. exports are estimated to total $6.2 billion, compared to $5.2 billion in 2012. Total 2013 shipments are estimated to total 3.8 billion pounds of milk solids, compared to 3.2 billion in 2012.