Pizza Hut, known for cheese-centric innovations, and its parent company Yum! Brands are partnering with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a farmer-owned cooperative with more than 11,500 farm families, and dairy suppliers to provide participating farmers with the technology and data needed to help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Pizza Hut has begun working alongside DFA and dairy suppliers to enroll interested dairy farm families within their supply chain in the joint dairy project, where they’ll participate in annual farm-level greenhouse gas and energy foot-printing through the Farmers Assuring Responsible Management and Environmental Stewardship (FARM ES) evaluation over a three-year period. By 2025, the end of the three-year period, Pizza Hut aims to source 50% of the dairy used to make its pizza cheese from dairy farms enrolled in the FARM ES program.
Once enrolled, farms will receive a SCiO cup, the world’s fastest lab-grade dry matter analyzer, allowing farmers to access instant dry matter analysis of their cows’ feed, helping deliver precise nutrition and – in turn – produce milk more efficiently, create less waste and reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions. The farms will also be eligible to apply for funds to implement sustainability projects while continuing to actively recruit DFA members throughout the partnership. In addition to using SCiO cups, farmers participating in the program will have the chance to adopt other practices and technologies such as feed management enhancements and energy-efficient lighting.
“Pizza Hut has a long history of implementing industry-leading innovation,” says Penny Shaheen, Head of Food Innovation and Technology at Pizza Hut. “With this sustainability initiative, we’re able to utilize technology along with our dairy partners in a way that helps the environment while still delivering the iconic taste that pizza lovers have come to expect from our offerings.”
Since Pizza Hut’s inception in 1958, it has worked with the same family-owned business to supply 100% real cheese made with whole milk to top its pizza and that commitment to the highest-quality cheese will remain unchanged. With this announcement, Pizza Hut will leverage its national scale by partnering with DFA and dairy suppliers to help make its supply chain more environmentally friendly by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“In 2020, Dairy Farmers of America became the first U.S. dairy cooperative to set a science-based target to reduce both direct and value chain greenhouse gas emissions, and this partnership with Pizza Hut and Dairy Farmers of America is an important piece in those continued efforts,” says Hansel New, director of sustainability programs at DFA. “We appreciate partners supporting our dairy farm families by investing in meaningful, innovative technologies and practices that advance environmental stewardship, while reducing farm-level greenhouse gas emissions.”
The project is also part of a broader strategy that will help all parties reach additional long-term sustainability goals:
- Yum! and Pizza Hut: decrease GHG emissions 46% by 2030 with a focus on restaurants and supply chain and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
- Dairy Farmers of America: 30% GHG emissions reduction across supply chain by 2030. DFA is also part of an industry-wide collaboration through the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy to be greenhouse neutral or better by 2050.
This farm-level project builds on existing industry collaborations and partnerships. Since 2019, Yum! Brands has been a member of the Innovation Center’s Dairy Sustainability Alliance, a multi-stakeholder group consisting of companies and organizations from across the dairy community and others who want to contribute to dairy’s social responsibility journey. DFA is also an active member, having joined in 2010.
“We are proud to work with Dairy Farmers of America in this innovative project,” says Jon Hixson, Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President of Global Government Affairs at Yum! Brands. “U.S. dairy producers have set leading aspirations in sustainability and we are excited to partner with them in support of practices that improve the sustainability of the dairy supply chain.”