A bombshell front page New York Times article from Sunday characterizes Domino's successful "Oh Yes We Did" as the brainchild of a USDA agency that helped fund it in order to push consumption of cheese.

According to the times, Dairy Management, a marketing group under the USDA, helped develop the new recipe that features 40 percent more cheese. It also helped fund it to the tune of $12 million.

The story was not meant to villanize the No. 2 pizza company’s marketing campaign, but rather called attention to a federal agency advocating mixed messages to Americans.

From the story:

Urged on by government warnings about saturated fat, Americans have been moving toward low-fat milk for decades, leaving a surplus of whole milk and milk fat. Yet the government, through Dairy Management, is engaged in an effort to find ways to get dairy back into Americans’ diets, primarily through cheese.

Americans now eat an average of 33 pounds of cheese a year, nearly triple the 1970 rate. Cheese has become the largest source of saturated fat; an ounce of many cheeses contains as much saturated fat as a glass of whole milk.

As for the industry implications; not many knew how big a role this outside agency played in the pizza company’s marketing campaign.

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