Domino’s Pizza has come out with six American Legends pizzas. They contain 40 percent more cheese than Domino’s other pizzas. An extra 40 percent per pie could add up to more than 10 million pounds of cheese per year through Domino’s new promotion alone.   

This is exciting to dairy-promotion officials. Pizza is an important sales category, accounting for about 25 percent of the cheese consumed in the U.S. Yet, pizza sales have been slowing down in recent years.

In the near future, Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the dairy checkoff program, plans to convene a Pizza Emergency Taskforce with 15 pizza suppliers to discuss the barriers to growing the pizza business, as well as the opportunities.

At a time when milk prices are low and pizza sales are slumping, a strategic partnership between Domino’s and DMI offers some hope for a turnaround. If Domino’s is successful in this venture, other pizza chains may follow — similar to the “domino effect” that occurred with plastic, re-sealable bottles of milk appearing at fast-food chains, such as Burger King, McDonald’s and Sonic.

In a conference call Monday, DMI officials said they intend to spend approximately $12 million over the next two years to help Domino’s market its American Legends pizzas. They are leveraging their dollars with Domino’s in order to increase cheese sales. Domino’s will reportedly spend four to five times the amount DMI is spending on marketing efforts.

Two weeks ago, Domino’s unveiled six American Legends pizzas — Honolulu Hawaiian, Cali Chicken Bacon Ranch, Pacific Veggie, Memphis BBQ Chicken, Buffalo Chicken and Philly Cheese Steak.