McDonald's, the world's largest restaurant chain with 34,000 franchises across the globe and 14,000 stores in the U.S., has been looking at its entire menu.

Its goal?

Deliver more nutritious meals to its customers. These days, those nutritious meals involve more dairy, as 80 percent of the restaurant menu items now incorporate milk and other dairy products in some way, shape, or form.

However, that dairy-based menu hasn't always been the case.

Dairy Management Inc., the farmer-funded Dairy Checkoff, began working with McDonald's in 2004 to recreate the beverage milk experience, which led to the milk jug replacing the gable-topped cardboard milk carton. Drinks from the McCafé that feature one serving of dairy followed in 2008. Those two experiences transformed into a formal food partnership in 2009 that has brought menu items such as milk in Happy Meals, Go-Gurt, Buttermilk Crispy Chicken, and Mozzarella sticks. Butter has also bumped margarine out of the kitchen.

To learn more about the "Why dairy?" experience, listen to comments from Molly Starmann, a 10-year McDonald's staffer who serves as senior director of brand public relations and reputation in the video above.

This Hoard's Dairyman Intel article is part of an eight-part Dairy Food Maker series with McDonald's. It details a partnership that began with McDonald's and Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) in 2004 and continues to this day with Dairy Checkoff dairy scientists working directly at McDonald's headquarters in the greater Chicago, Ill., area.

To read more about the McDonald's experience and the organization's partnership with dairy farmers, turn to pages 546 and 547 of the September 10 issue of Hoard's Dairyman for the Food Maker series.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2016
September 12, 2016
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