Building on its successful partnership to help grow sales and trust for dairy in the United States, the national dairy checkoff partnered with Yum! Brands, Louisville, Ky., to grow U.S. dairy sales internationally, specifically in Asia Pacific, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean.

This partnership will focus on pilot programs with Yum! Brands’ division KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

For instance, a pilot program with KFC aims to grow U.S. dairy sales in Latin America and the Caribbean by exploring innovation opportunities like cheese sauces and pairings to complement KFC’s signature international products, such as chicken sandwiches.

“Working to get more cheese on chicken sandwiches is a great opportunity to grow sales,” says Paul Rovey, Arizona dairy farmer and chair of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), Rosemont, Ill., which manages the national dairy checkoff. “Beyond cheese, this partnership also can help create products that grow milk and milk-based drink sales, along with ice cream and other dessert-based items.”

The dairy checkoff also is growing U.S. dairy sales by co-leading a pilot program with Pizza Hut to reach customers in Asia Pacific at its more than 2,500 restaurants in 15 countries. Pizza Hut sources 100% of its string cheese for Asia Pacific, which is used in stuffed-crust pizzas, from the United States, according to Enrique Ramirez, chief financial and strategy officer for Pizza Hut.

“U.S. dairy farmers, importers and DMI have brought us tremendous value in dairy expertise and innovation,” says Greg Creed, chief executive officer of Yum! Brands. “I’m incredibly excited about taking this relationship to international markets.”

Both the KFC and Pizza Hut partnerships will include checkoff on-site resources and will focus on developing innovative, dairy-centric menu items.