After being lambasted for not selling enough UK-sourced chicken at the London Olympics, McDonald’s has decided to up its game and announced that 100% of the chicken it will serve at the Games will now be British and Red Tractor-certified.
The move comes after the London Assembly was told earlier this month that as little as 10% of the chicken sold by McDonald’s at the 2012 Olympics would be from the UK, sparking concerns about the fast food chain’s commitment to British farming.
A spokeswoman for the company said McDonald’s was a “proud partner” of the 2012 Games and had been a “good customer” of British farming for decades. “Recent comments made on this topic have, in our opinion, created some confusion in the minds of our customers about our commitment to British farming and to the Games,” she added. “We spend over £300 million each year on our UK supply chain, purchasing from thousands of farmers across a wide range of categories, from beef to free-range eggs.”
The British chicken sold by McDonald’s at the Olympics will come from the company’s existing UK supply base. “This is possible because of the recent increase in volumes of British chicken breast meat that we have been purchasing,” the spokeswoman said.
NFU head of food chain Lee Woodger said it was “pleasing” that McDonald’s had listened to “concerns” and gone 100% British on chicken served at the Olympics. “By serving only British chicken at its Olympic sites, McDonald’s will be helping to showcase British food at the Games,” he said.
Red Tractor CEO David Clarke said he, too, welcomed McDonald’s decision to serve 100% Red Tractor-assured chicken at the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase Red Tractor assured chicken in not only the world’s largest chain of quick service restaurants, but in the largest peace-time catering operation in the world,” he said. “We look forward to working with McDonald’s in the future.”
Woodger added, however, that although the company was already 100% British for pork, eggs and milk, it had not extended its British sourcing pledge to beef, which is currently sourced from the UK and Ireland. “In light of the announcement on chicken, we ask they review their decision on beef, which – if it’s not similarly changed – will see them serve large volumes of imported beef rather than British beef at London 2012,” Woodger said.
McDonald’s said it was proud to source beef from British and Irish farmers. “We have always been open about it, and our Irish suppliers play an important part in our supply chain,” the company’s spokeswoman said.