Aiken PR

The Briefing

Lockdown drives hunger for homegrown ingredients

by Aiken PR

28/09/2020

McDonald’s has launched a new campaign to highlight the surprisingly local ingredients that go into its great value favourites and local Franchisee Des Lamph recently spent the day with Co. Antrim farmer Trevor Bamford to find out more about his beef farm.

McDonald's

 

McDonald’s ‘essential ingredient’ are the 23,000 British and Irish farmers that supply the restaurant chain and as part of the campaign a new ‘Map my McDonald’s’ tool will launch in early October allowing customers to see which quality, fresh ingredients are grown in their region.

Recent research released by McDonald’s has revealed that lockdown has left us loving homegrown ingredients more than ever and thanks to the long–held relationships with local farmers customers can be assured that their favourite menu items include high quality, locally sourced ingredients.

Nearly half of people asked in Northern Ireland (44%) say their appreciation for locally sourced food has increased since lockdown, with beef (71%), eggs (71%) and milk (67%) taking the top spots for ingredients most want restaurants to source from local suppliers.

The YouGov poll of more than 2,000 adults from across the UK found that in Northern Ireland our newfound love for local ingredients is due to almost half (44%) of us believing locally sourced food is better for the environment and that supporting local farmers is important (51%). However, almost a quarter of people here are concerned (23%) that meals which include locally sourced produce will cost more.

As part of the campaign, McDonald’s is also announcing two new partnerships that continue its long heritage of supporting farming. The first will see McDonald’s and The Prince’s Countryside Fund in Northern Ireland launch the ‘Ready for Change’ workshops to help livestock farmers prepare for the future, in early 2021. This comes as research by McDonald’s and the Fund found that 71% of farmers lack the confidence to make changes to their business.

The second will see McDonald’s together with its long–standing potato partner McCain, launch the Sustainable MacFries Fund, providing over £1m in grants to British potato growers to help improve water and soil sustainability.

The partnerships compliment McDonald’s support for young farmers through its annual Progressive Young Farmers programme, which seeks to invest in the future of the farming industry. Four of the nine young farmers this year are from Queen’s University and will have the opportunity to spend 12 months getting to know every part of the supply chain – from farm to front counter – to kickstart their careers in the industry. Find out more about the programme here.

Nina Prichard, Head of Sustainable and Ethical Sourcing at McDonald’s UK & Ireland, said: “Clearly, the nation is hungry for homegrown food, which is no surprise given the high quality of ingredients that are produced by farmers and growers across the UK.

“We know that our customers expect a quality experience every time they order from us, which is why we work so hard to source the best quality local ingredients wherever we can. At the heart of that are over 23,000 British and Irish farmers up and down the country, many of whom we’ve worked with for decades. These farmers are the local heroes who work tirelessly to deliver quality, local produce for our delicious menu, day in, day out. We are committed to continuing to support them and the overall future of British and Irish farming.”

At a glance:

The campaign reveals that a quarter of people here (25%) report that they care more about the quality of the food in their meals than before lockdown. McDonald’s customers can enjoy their favourite menu items knowing:

  • All McDonald’s burgers are made using 100% British and Irish beef, sourced from over 20,000 farms, accredited by a nationally recognised farm assurance scheme, such as Red Tractor
  • Every egg cracked for a McDonald’s breakfast is free–range and RSPCA Assured, which has been the case for over twenty years
  • Every drop of semi–skimmed milk in teas, coffees, porridge and Happy Meal milk bottles is organic and comes from Red Tractor assured dairies
  • Across its menu, McDonald’s only serves 100% RSPCA Assured outdoor–bred pork across our menu and was the first UK restaurant to do so
  • And McDonald’s world–famous Fries are made using spuds, sourced from select ‘MacFry’ potato varieties, grown on British Red Tractor assured farms.

 

The first McDonald’s restaurant in Northern Ireland opened in 1991 in Belfast and now seven local franchisees operate and manage the 31 restaurants. The latest economic report highlights that McDonald’s and its supply chain partners make a combined contribution of £99m GVA annually to Northern Ireland and support more than 4,700 jobs with farmers receiving £23m directly as a result of their operations.