McDonald’s, Dairy Checkoff Work to Market More Dairy

After announcing menu changes to Happy Meals earlier this year that removed dairy, McDonald’s is working to get more dairy into its regular menu.
( McDonald's )

McDonald’s and dairy checkoff scientists have unveiled three new menu items that will help get more dairy to consumers.

On March 23, Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) released a statement about the collaboration between McDonald’s and dairy checkoff scientists. The menu items include:

  • McDonald’s Signature Crafted Recipes sandwiches and the Egg White Delight McMuffin will now feature sharp white cheddar cheese slices that are more than 30 percent larger than the pasteurized process version previously used. The cheese will be available in all 14,000 restaurants by April 2. Celebrating this debut, a new Signature Crafted Recipe – Garlic White Cheddar – will be added to the Signature Crafted Recipes lineup.
  • McDonald’s launched limited-time-offer McCafe Turtle Coffee Beverages with advertising starting April 2. Consumers can choose Turtle Macchiato Iced, Turtle Macchiato Hot and Turtle Iced Coffee. These beverages join a McCafé lineup that offers dairy in 90 percent of its items.
  • McDonald’s in partnership with Coca-Cola recently launched a line of ready-to-drink McCafé Frappes at grocery stores nationwide. Three flavors – caramel, vanilla and mocha – are available, and McDonald’s plans to expand its line-up later this year.

DMI dairy scientists Divya Reddy and Porter Myrick worked with the McDonald’s team to make each project a reality and to ensure real dairy products were used.

“We work here every day alongside the McDonald’s culinary staff and we very much feel like one team,” said Myrick, who has been working with the McDonald’s culinary team for five years. “The McDonald’s employees are just as excited as we are to showcase the goodness and versatility of dairy. They understand, as we do, that creating offerings such as these gives consumers what they want, and it’s also good for dairy farmers.”

Happy Meal Decision, Future Collaboration

The announcement by DMI of the new menu offerings comes just over five weeks after McDonald’s said it was removing chocolate milk and cheeseburgers from Happy Meals.

In a statement shared with Dairy Herd Management, Paul Ziemnisky, executive vice president global innovation partnerships with DMI said that McDonald’s partnership has resulted in nine years of wins for dairy farmers and still has tremendous growth opportunity.

“McDonald’s is one of the largest users of U.S. dairy in North America and we have averaged more than 5% annual dairy volume growth over the last three years. We have a key seat and voice at the table and will continue to work collaboratively to advance how dairy supports and offers solutions for the company’s commitment to children’s health here and around the world, as well as in other key areas of their menu,” Ziemnisky said.

McDonald’s decision on cheeseburgers and chocolate milk did not fully remove it from the Happy Meal menu, but parents now have to request those items specifically as they are not advertised.

White milk is still offered on the Happy Meal menu and McDonald’s is working to reformulate the chocolate milk recipe to remove added sugar.

According to Ziemnisky, McDonald’s continues to leverage the checkoff team and its dairy scientists to assist in reformulation and consumer testing of the chocolate milk. He expects chocolate milk will be back on the menu in the future.

In regards to the latest project adding three menu items, Marilyn Hershey, Pennsylvania dairy farmer and chairman of DMI, said this is another example of how national dairy checkoff partnerships deliver results.

“Projects such as these require the right strategy, consumer insights and testing, as well as marketing know-how, which is the benefit that comes from working with a global leader such as McDonald’s,” Hershey said. “Our teamwork has consistently resulted in quality offerings that bring the dairy experience at McDonald’s to a whole new level.”