“Dairy has gone from garnish to hero at places such as Taco Bell due to our collaborative partnerships,” explained Paul Ziemnisky during the Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) annual meeting held in mid-November. Taco Bell is just one of many national retail chains featuring more dairy products these days due to partnerships and innovative research being carried out by the Dairy Checkoff.
“Who would have thought we could have added dairy to Mountain Dew?” he asked the audience. “Thanks to creating a shelf-stable cream, Taco Bell introduced a new product called Mountain Dew Colada Freeze,” said the executive vice president who heads up global innovation partnerships for DMI.
The Moutain Dew Colada Freeze product pairs Mountain Dew and dairy cream, just like pairing coffee and dairy cream. It is just one of many products developed via the DMI partnership with Taco Bell as detailed in the report, “Cheese is the Core.”
A look to the future
“Relationships and partnerships are so important to our success,” said Barbara O’Brien, DMI’s CEO and president, in sharing the Dairy Checkoff’s plan to grow dairy product sales. DMI has been focusing on partnerships for about a decade now.
What have been the results?
“Consumption is the highest since 1960,” explained Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. In making that statement, Mulhern was referencing USDA data that illustrates per capita dairy product consumption has climbed to 655 pounds per person. Over the past 10 years, the growth rate was 52 pounds per person.
“We have four priorities moving forward,” said Beth Engelmann, who serves as COO for DMI. “Our first goal is securing dairy’s place with the next generation. The second priority is growing opportunities for domestic and international sales,” Engelman continued.
“Demonstrating dairy as an essential sustainable food source will be on ongoing area of focus. Long-term, we need to lead an industry-wide transformation,” concluded Engelman when talking about the future of dairy products.