McDonald’s has unveiled a new promotional campaign designed to play up its sourcing credentials using the latest virtual reality technology.

The fast food chain’s Follow our Foodsteps campaign - launched today - allows consumers to trace the three key stages of food production from provenance to production and through to preparation and cooking, using a variety of VR technology.

The initiative is part of McDonald’s long-term Farm Forward programme - which aims to address challenges in the farming sector such as developing talent, improving ingredient quality and animal welfare - and will be taken around the UK in a roadshow by the chain, starting next week at the Balmoral Show in Northern Ireland.

Visitors to the McDonald’s stand will be transported behind the scenes with a number of experiences including a ‘Top of the Crop’ virtual reality challenge where they can test their skill behind the wheel of a tractor during a potato harvest, in addition to a range of immersive 360-degree videos showcasing various parts of the McDonald’s supply chain such as its dairy farms, egg producers and burger production facilities.

The campaign comes on the back of research for McDonald’s by YouGov, which revealed an increasing appetite from consumers to find out more about the provenance of their food, with a fifth unable to explain any process behind food production.

“As a nation, we have never been more food-focused,” said McDonald’s director of supply chain Connor McVeigh. “The eating out market is growing but this passion for food is masking a lack of understanding around how food is produced and the vital role our farming and food industries play in growing, sourcing and producing quality ingredients.”

As one of the biggest customers of British and Irish farming, McDonald’s wanted to “lift the lid on the passion and skills that exist at every stage of the process, from farm to front-counter”, he added.

“Over the last decade we have invited people behind the scenes of our own supply chain on a number of occasions but we wanted to take this even further,” McVeigh said. “Our hope is that it will help build pride in British and Irish farming, challenge outdated stereotypes and celebrate the best of food and farming in the UK today.”

McDonald’s move follows the launch of a new ad campaign by Waitrose last month, where it strapped cameras on to its dairy cows as part of a behind-the scenes view of its farm supply chain.

Environment secretary Liz Truss said the McDonald’s initiative was “a fantastic example of the vision, creativity and innovation running through our food and farming industry today”, while NFU director general Terry Jones described the campaign as an “innovative approach to connecting consumers with food production”.