Click to contact us or call 02476 353537

McDonald’s unveils free tool to help farmers beef-up their bottom line

McDonald’s UK today unveiled a digital business tool for the beef sector that enables farmers to calculate potential financial savings by highlighting efficiency-based changes they can make to their daily operations.

stephen hobbs

Stephen Hobbs, beef farmer, Buckinghamshire

McDonald’s UK today unveiled a digital business tool for the beef sector that enables farmers to calculate potential financial savings by highlighting efficiency-based changes they can make to their daily operations.

During a series of farm assessments, a beef farmer based in Dorset, farming 227 hectares, used McDonald’s ‘What If?’ business tool to identify potential cost savings of £9,917 as well as a reduction in carbon emissions.

McDonald’s and independent environmental consultants, The E-CO2 Project, have developed the ‘What If?’ business tool over the last four years. An early version of the tool based on Carbon Trust-verified data and 800 carbon assessments of beef farms was launched last year to help farmers measure their carbon emissions per kilo of beef. In response to feedback from farmers, McDonald’s and E-CO2 have developed the tool to identify cost as well as carbon savings; creating a tool that can play a useful role in business planning.

Users of the tool are asked to input data including daily live-weight gain, feed use per animal, fertiliser use, forage quality and sale weights. They can then adjust these variables and run different ‘What If?’ scenarios to understand which changes will have the most impact on their business and in turn drive cost and carbon savings.

McDonald's digital business tool

McDonald’s launches free digital business tool

The launch of the new and improved tool follows the publication of the government’s agri-tech strategy last summer, which identified a need to provide farmers with greater access to innovative new practices and technologies that can improve productivity, competitiveness and environmental performance.

McDonald’s is making the ‘What If?’ tool available to the beef industry free of charge as part of Farm Forward, its long-term programme to create a sustainable future for British and Irish farming.

The tool is part of a £1 million investment over six years to help beef farmers run efficient and sustainable farm businesses. McDonald’s has also introduced Sustainable Beef Clubs, free networking sessions at which beef farmers from across the UK and Ireland are invited to share their knowledge and experiences in return for expert consultancy and access to the latest research. As part of these Sustainable Beef Clubs, E-CO2 has carried out almost 1,000 farm assessments and held 35 farmer group meetings.

Using the ‘What if?’ tool, Andrew Foot, a progressive dairy beef farmer from Dorset, identified £9,917 of potential savings by focusing on improving silage quality and gaining better feed conversion efficiencies. He said: “Monitoring business performance on the farm is incredibly important and I’m always looking to learn from other sectors and use technology to increase my farm’s efficiency. The ‘What If?’ Tool demonstrates that by making small changes to animal groups this can really make a big difference to overall performance.”

Charles Sercombe, Chairman of the NFU National Livestock Board, said: “I found the tool easy-to-use and it demonstrates that some simple changes to farming practices can not only drive efficiencies, but also increase profitability. I’m pleased that McDonald’s has chosen to encourage all beef farmers to use the tool to see how they might benefit. This is a great example of how we can all work together to support a sustainable future for beef farming.”

Connor McVeigh, Director of Supply Chain, McDonald’s UK, commented: “As one of the biggest customers of British and Irish agriculture, we know that farmers want to drive efficiencies within their businesses and boost profitability. That’s why we’ve worked with E-CO2 to develop the ‘What If?’ Tool as part of Farm Forward, our long-term programme to support the farming industry in Britain and Ireland. It’s our way of giving something back to over 16,000 beef farmers who supply our menu as well as the wider industry.”

Andrew Wynne, Consultant, E-CO2, said: “From experience we know that the most environmentally efficient farm businesses are often the most profitable. The ‘What If?’ tool will help farmers to review their beef operation and identify the small changes that can help them to save money and improve their environmental performance.”

For more information and to access the ‘What If?’ business tool visit:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * great opportunity to promote your business to our dedicated readership of farmers, landowners, estate managers and associated agricultural professionals.
Contact us today on 02476 353537 and let's work together to drive your business forward.