McDonald’s lifts the lid on its support for UK farming as it marks 40 years serving the UK

McDonald’s UK has today revealed that its annual investment in the UK food and agricultural sector has grown to more than £851 million over 40 years, as part of a commitment to sourcing the majority of quality ingredients it uses for its menu from UK farmers and suppliers.

The announcement has been made as McDonald’s releases the findings of a new economic report entitled, ‘Serving the UK: McDonald’s at 40′. The report looks at the positive contribution McDonald’s has made to its people, to its customers, to communities and to the national economy over 40 years.

For the first time, £134 million of McDonald’s annual supply chain investment has been traced directly to the gates of farm businesses in communities across the UK, supporting up to 3,000 jobs on farms that are in many cases family owned and run.

This investment comes as a result of a significant and sustained growth in the UK by McDonald’s. Each year, £2 billion is spent with British-based business across McDonald’s UK supply chain, from farmers and packaging suppliers through to construction and transport companies creating 13,600 jobs each year.

Warren Anderson, Vice President of Supply Chain, McDonald’s UK, said:

“We have worked hard to establish a world leading supply chain in the UK over 40 years. It’s underpinned by a commitment to long-term relationships, mutual trust, and to sourcing the majority of the ingredients for our menu from UK farmers and growers.

“I’m proud that an investment of £2 billion each year can be linked to our UK supply chain. As a big customer of UK farming, it’s particularly rewarding to know that we are creating jobs and opportunities within the UK food and farming sector that are directly benefitting farmers.

“Serving our customers great tasting food made with quality ingredients that are responsibly-sourced from farms with high standards of animal welfare in place will continue to be our number one priority. Today, 17,500 farmers across Britain and Ireland supply us with quality produce, including 100% British and Irish beef, British free-range eggs and organic milk from UK dairies.

“We want to keep buying ingredients from UK shores, which is why we’ll continue to invest in the food and farming sector in this country over the next 40 years and beyond.”

As part of its long-term commitment to help secure a sustainable future for British and Irish farming, McDonald’s launched Farm Forward in May 2012 to give farmers and suppliers the confidence to invest for the future, and meet higher food quality and welfare standards.

The programme has made huge strides in its first two years:

· Championing higher welfare standards: Last April McDonald’s became the first high street restaurant chain to serve 100% Freedom Food pork from RSPCA monitored British farms across its menu. McDonald’s is now the second biggest buyer of Freedom Food pork in the UK, helping to strengthen the market and encourage more farmers to adopt Freedom Food standards.

· Supporting young farmers: McDonald’s pioneering training programme for young farmers is preparing to welcome its third intake of students this summer. The scheme aims to help young farmers kick-start their career by offering the opportunity to work right through the supply chain, from farms and abattoirs, to McDonald’s restaurant front counter.

· Sharing knowledge and innovation: McDonald’s has committed to a pipeline of on-farm research projects to help farmers implement new ways to improve the quality of their produce. A McDonald’s-funded study to prove the welfare and economic benefits of providing tree cover to encourage free-range hens to roam freely outdoors was shared with egg producers across the UK last year.

· Driving efficiencies on-farm: In April this year, McDonald’s unveiled a free digital business tool for beef farmers to help them realise carbon and cost savings of around £9,000 by making a number of simple changes to their daily operations.

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