ROSEMONT, ILL. – With the help of a new program established through pizza partnerships, the dairy checkoff anticipates driving an additional 12 million pounds of cheese use.

Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff program, shared that most of that quantity will be put to use internationally by a “major quick-serve restaurant pizza chain” that opened its sourcing to cheese suppliers in the United States. The checkoff also will offer strategic support surrounding advertising and marketing to increase pizza consumption in the international market.

In the US, meanwhile, DMI supported Domino’s with consumer research ahead of the restaurant chain’s launch of its Pepperoni Stuffed Cheesy Bread. DMI said the breadsticks, which are stuffed with cheese and pepperoni and covered in a blend of 100% real mozzarella and cheddar, received high consumer test scores.

“This pizza growth program is just one example of the power of our national and local organizations working together,” said Barbara O’Brien, president and chief executive officer at DMI.

State and regional checkoff organizations American Dairy Association Mideast, Midwest Dairy and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan also supported the work done for Domino’s, while O’Brien noted that funding from the entire checkoff network helps make these types of partnerships possible.

“Domino’s values its partnership with DMI, as there would be no pizza without the hard work of dairy farmers around the US,” said Kate Trumbull, senior vice president - chief brand officer for Domino’s. “Thanks to them, we’re able to offer a variety of delicious, cheesy, craveable products to customers around the country.”

Another aspect of the partnership, DMI indicated, involves the checkoff working with Domino’s on an enhanced loyalty program to further push pizza and cheese sales.

“The checkoff’s relationships have always been an underpinning of our plan and our partners understand the challenges our farmers face with rising input costs that affect their bottom line,” O’Brien said. “They are stepping up with innovative ways we can collaborate to drive more sales of US-produced cheese on their products.”

DMI shared that the other pizza company that teamed with the checkoff to improve its international presence historically only used cheese from outside the US. Additionally, DMI said in some global markets, pizza is consumed roughly once a year, but added that consumer tastes are shifting, making it a good time to support pizza growth internationally. The company’s international marketing campaign begins this month and will run through March of next year.

“The checkoff has enjoyed longtime partnerships with the leading burger, pizza and Mexican quick-serve restaurants that have an astonishing reach of loyal customers, not just in the US, but abroad,” O’Brien said. “They understand quite well the value that dairy delivers to their menus, and they see how our checkoff resources and expertise can help them reach their business objectives to remain on top of their game.”