Checkoff helps fast food giants use milk

COLUMBUS — Taco Bell, the largest Mexican quick-service restaurant chain in the United States, recently launched the first of several dairy-friendly menu items, thanks to support from the dairy checkoff.

The Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla, featuring real pepper jack cheese, is the brand’s first offering of the Cantina Bell “chef inspired” menu to feature cheese and sour cream for dipping.

Farm partners

The dairy checkoff and Taco Bell formed a partnership in 2012 that includes a dairy scientist, employed by the dairy checkoff, working at Taco Bell’s headquarters to grow dairy sales by helping develop entrees, desserts, beverages and breakfast items that feature dairy as a key ingredient. Fast food potential. With Taco Bell, dairy producers are hoping to duplicate the long standing partnership with McDonald’s that represents 1 billion incremental pounds of dairy sold annually.

Most recently, the dairy checkoff worked with McDonald’s on the positioning of milk for in-store materials and commercials that promote Despicable Me 2. McDonald’s featured Despicable Me 2 promotions on its Happy Meal boxes and milk bottles.

Additionally, there was a McDonald’s commercial featuring the Minions — the computer-animated movie’s popular characters — blowing milk bubbles and a downloadable milk bubbles computer app for children.

Farmer-funded

The checkoff continues to provide McDonald’s with resources, including three onsite dairy scientists, an onsite nutrition adviser, and an onsite sustainability manager, as well as university-based dairy centers.

The focus for the next few years at McDonald’s will be on innovations with yogurt, desserts and natural cheese aiming to move an additional 3 billion pounds of milk (on a milk solids basis).
To learn more about producer-funded checkoff programs, visit www.dairycheckoff.com or www.drink-milk.com.

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