Lockdown drives hunger for homegrown ingredients

Lockdown drives hunger for homegrown ingredients
McDonald’s franchisee Des Lamph and local farmer Trevor Bamford

New research by McDonald’s reveals that lockdown has left us loving homegrown ingredients more than ever. Nearly half of people 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.

YouGov Poll

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.

McDonald’s has launched a new campaign to highlight that local ingredients go into McDonald’s favourites – whether it’s the 100% British and Irish beef in McDonald’s burgers, the free-range eggs for McDonald’s breakfast, organic milk for the coffees and Happy Meals or the potatoes for its iconic MacFries.

Map my McDonald’s Tool

The new ‘Map my McDonald’s’ tool allows customers to see which quality, fresh ingredients are grown in their region, and find out more about McDonald’s ‘essential ingredient’ – over 23,000 British and Irish farmers that supply them.

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.

McCain fries

The second will see McDonald’s together with its long-standing potato partner McCain, launch the Sustainable MacFries Fund, providing over £1 million 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.

Locally sourced

Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA said “I welcome the initiative by McDonald’s to provide consumers with more information about where they source their food, and show that our local farmers produce some of the ingredients for the meals served up in their restaurants. It is also encouraging to see the investment in young farmers and support provided to four local students who studied at CAFRE and Queens University.”

The launch of Map My McDonald’s comes as a quarter of people here (25%) report that they care more about the quality of the food in their meals than before lockdown.