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Martyn Fisher

BY MARTYN FISHER

McDonald's in £9m boost for UK potato growers

Fast food giant commits to only sourcing British potatoes, to help growers 'innovate and invest for the future'

McDonald's in £9m boost for UK potato growers

Flickr: _BuBBy_

Analysis

  • MARTYN FISHER

    MARTYN FISHER

    News and Online Editor
    1st October 2015 12:40

    This is an interesting tactical change by McDonald's, which still has something of a 'gutter' reputation. In my experience, the stigma about working at a branch of McDonald's remains very much alive both in the UK and US, and many health-concious consumers likely view eating at a McDonald's as 'dirty', or 'cheating' on their diet plan.

    As part of its new strategy, McDonald's is looking to tackle this reputation head-on. For example, at present, the retailer's French fries have a TV advert in the UK dedicated to dispelling the toxic myths that surround the potatoes used in the product.

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McDonald’s is reportedly set to start only sourcing potatoes from British farmers.

The move comes as part of a shift in strategy, as the fast food giant looks to appeal to customers more conscious about where their meals come from.

While most of its potatoes are already supplied from the UK, McDonald’s currently sources 13 per cent of its spuds from countries across Europe, including Germany.

But according to the Daily Telegraph, this latest shift in potato sourcing - effective immediately - will potentially mean an extra £9 million for British farmers, on top of the £70m McDonald’s spends with them each year.

McDonald’s is one of the largest buyers of British potatoes, and the company expects to buy a quarter of a million tonnes of potatoes this year.

The group also sources all its pork, eggs and milk from British farmers.

Connor McVeigh, ‎supply chain director at McDonald’s UK, told the Telegraph: “A succession of wet harvests has caused the British potato sector great uncertainty in recent years, so I hope our long-term commitment to only source from this country will give farmers the confidence to innovate and invest for the future."

The latest move on potatoes also comes as part of a wider £350m investment programme in the UK, as McDonald's works to overhauls its 1,250 stores in the country, and transform its menu offerings.

McDonald’s is introducing new wrap options this month in a bid to take on the rising number of food companies competing for the lucrative lunchtime market.

Last year, around 90 million Big Macs were sold in the UK, a fall from its peak of 100m in 2011.

Despite reporting lower sales in the US, McDonald’s has posted 37 consecutive quarters of growth in the UK, and plans to open up to 30 new outlets a year this decade.

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