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Agricultural News

McDonalds Making Big Changes in Menu with Real Butter, Boosting Dairy Sales

Mon, 21 Sep 2015 14:04:54 CDT

McDonalds Making Big Changes in Menu with Real Butter, Boosting Dairy Sales Move over margarine, butter is taking center stage at McDonald's. The announcement comes from a strategic partnership with McDonald's and years of research funded by dairy farmers through the dairy checkoff. This lead to the nation's largest fast-food chain's decision to convert from margarine to butter. All 14,000 McDonald's Restaurants in the United States are making the change in replacing liquid margarine with real butter. The move means more than 20 national menu items at McDonald's will soon be made with butter. The move by McDonald's exemplifies the success of a long-term investment by dairymen and the 25 years of research on dairy fat, said Dairy Management Inc., CEO Tom Gallagher. He said this change is due in large part to the work of dairy checkoff scientists and other experts working directly on-site with McDonald's.

"It's a specialty and if we don't have the people on site we're not going to be top of mind," Gallagher said. "So, that's been a relationship that has given the farmers and the industry an enormous amount of incremental sales."

McDonald's was one of the checkoff's first partners and the relationship has grown to where checkoff employees are housed at McDonald's headquarters to help develop, test, position and market new dairy-friendly items. The company's switch to butter is conservatively estimated to increase its dairy use an equivalent of 500 million to 600 million pounds of milk a year, an amount equal to total U.S. butter exports in 2014, Gallagher said. The change-over to butter at McDonald's will serve as a catalyst for others watching what this industry leader does.

"It's not just what McDonald's does," Gallagher said. "It's that everybody else has to follow. And that's where you get the really big bang for your buck. So the 500- to 600 million pounds over the course of a year at McDonald's is one number, and that's a great number. That's equivalent to the butter that was exported from this country last year. But the number is going to grow much bigger."

Consumers are going to see an enormous amount of advertising with butter featured and are going to start getting permission from those ads and their healthcare professionals - another focus of dairy checkoff investment - to consume milk fats, Gallagher said.

The rollout of butter in McDonald's menu items is expected to be complete within the next few months.



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