Potato farmer stars in ‘Map my McDonald’s’ campaign
- Credit: Archant
A Suffolk farmer is at the forefront of a promotional campaign by fast food giant McDonald’s highlighting its commitment to UK produce.
Andrew Francis, who runs the farm operation at the Earl of Iveagh’s Elveden Estate near Thetford and supplies the chain with potatoes – features in new Map My McDonald’s interactive tool which allows customers to see some of its army of 23,000 British and Irish farmer suppliers.
The 22,500 acre country estate includes more than 10,000 acres of farmland – making in the largest lowland farm in the UK – and grows a range of crops including 75,000 tonnes of potatoes, onions, parsnips and carrots.
MORE – Furious beet farmers up in arms over sugar imports plansThe McDonald’s map shows where the burger chain sources its ingredients in the UK and Ireland – and the farmers who produce them, including Mr Francis.
The restaurant chain is launching two new partnerships as it ramps up support for UK farmers.
Together with its long-standing potato partner McCain, it is launching the Sustainable MacFries Fund, providing more than £1m in grants to British potato growers to help improve water and soil sustainability.
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And it has teamed up with the Prince’s Countryside Fund to launch the ‘Ready for Change’ workshops to help livestock farmers prepare for the future.
Mr Francis – whose farm has supplied McDonald’s for more than 30 years and is one of its “flagship” sites – said: “It’s great to know that so many McDonald’s ingredients are sourced from local farmers like me.
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“Our farm works hard to ensure our potatoes are the best quality they can be, and we are proud to have spent many years supplying them for McDonald’s. The investment announced from McCain and McDonald’s will be key in allowing farmers like myself to continue to innovate how we work and improve the resilience and sustainability of our industry.”
A new YouGov poll suggests East Anglians care more about local farmers and locally-sourced produce following the coronavirus lockdown.
Around 41% say that supporting local farmers and growers is important to them, while 35% say they want to eat out more to support local food providers and farmers.
The YouGov poll of more than 2,000 British adults also found that 45% of those who live in the East of England say their appreciation for locally sourced food has increased since lockdown, with eggs (60%), milk (58%), beef (55%) and potatoes (53%) the ingredients they most want restaurants to source from local suppliers.
McDonald’s UK head of sustainability Nina Prichard said the desire for homegrown food was “no surprise” given the high quality of ingredients produced by UK farmers and growers.
“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.”
The UK McDonald’s operation makes its burgers using only British and Irish beef accredited by farm assurance schemes such as Red Tractor. Its milk is organic and comes from Red Tractor-assured dairies and its pork is from outdoor-bred pigs and is RSPCA-assured. Its fries come from ‘MacFry’ potato varieties grown on British Red Tractor assured farms, it says.