Food Tech Unlocks Paradigm Shift For American Dairy Industry

For years, the American government has supported the Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), an organisation tasked with promoting all things dairy, at home and abroad. You might be familiar with the 'Got Milk?' initiative - that was one of theirs.

Unbeknown to most, America is also in the middle of a dairy glut:

  • 600 million kilograms of cheese sitting in cold storage,

  • 190 million litres of milk tipped down the drain in 2015

  • a bail-out request from the National Milk Producers Federation, from the USDA for $150 million.

Clearly the next challenge for DMI had to be cheese.

Americans love cheese. The average consumer eats 15kg of the stuff every year. But the question remained; could the DMI exert its influence and increase cheese consumption - just like they with 'Got Milk?'. 

DMI's started by embedding a food technologist, Lisa McClintock, within the Taco Bell innovation team. Lisa's sole focus was to develop products that would use a lot of cheese. 


Did Lisa Deliver? You Bet!

In 2016, following years of research into thermal properties of melted cheese, lab contests to see who could stretch their cheese the furtherest, and some fancy new proprietary taco-shell-stuffing-and-sealing equipment,  Lisa and Taco Bell launched the 'Quesalupa'.

Launched the biggest way they know how, with a commercial during the 2016 Superbowl touted this product to be 'Bigger than...' a lot of things (including bigger than 'man buns').

This super stretchy, cheese stuffed, fried taco shell sold out - all 75 million shells that were made for this launch were devoured in just 4 month by consumers eager to try this limited release product.

As the ad shows, the cheese was no longer a garnish, it was now the main event!

Paradigm Shift: Cheese on a Taco - Not Garnish, But the Main Event

How could this solve any of the America cheese glut problems?

The DMI are aiming to increase the consumption of cheese (and dairy), which eventually would begin to reduce the mountains of cheese being held in warehouses across the country. Changing the mindset of consumers that the cheese (or other dairy products) could be the hero of a meal, and not simply garnish would help increase the rate of consumption.

And the DMI isn't done yet. It has already embedded more agents within Burger King, McDonalds, Dominos and other similar organisations. Providing this capability rather than cash is a productive way of solving this problem. 


And in case your were wondering how much cheese is in the Quesalupa taco? About 5 times as much as a regular taco...



This post was created using exceprts of an article found on the Bloomberg online news site. The link below will take you to the complete article.