The endeavor to add 25% more cheese to Pizza Hut pan pizzas came after DMI first shared research and insights to help convince the restaurant chain that consumers want more cheese on pizzas. This led to a discussion of how much cheese to add to the chain’s existing pan pizza recipe that would make a noticeable difference with consumers.
The project was led by dairy scientist Nitin Joshi, a DMI employee who works onsite at Pizza Hut’s headquarters in Plano, Texas.
To ensure that all pizzas would be cooked consistently across 6,000 locations, Joshi and his team prepared roughly 8,500 pizzas before choosing a finished product. The team then conducted training sessions with franchise operators on replicating the recipe.
Part of larger effort
Injecting more cheese into Pizza Hut’s production is part of the national dairy checkoff program, an industry-wide initiative to increase demand for dairy products that has found success by adding more dairy items to fast food menus. The program includes additional partnerships with Domino’s, McDonalds, and Taco Bell.
The national dairy checkoff’s efforts have also extended internationally through a partnership with Yum! Brands, owner of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, to grow US dairy sales in Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia Pacific regions.
Pizza Hut’s increased milk demand could help chip away at an oversupply of milk causing a downward pressure on milk prices in the US. The USDA estimated that the US dairy industry will produce 21.8bn lbs of milk in 2018, while slightly lower than 2017 production, the supply still outweighs market demand causing milk prices to continue to drop.
“It’s also a win for farmers as we continue to explore new and innovative avenues for our milk production through our partnerships,” Marilyn Hershey, Pennsylvania dairy farmer and chairman of DMI, which manages the national dairy checkoff, said.