McDonald’s to become first high street restaurant chain to serve 100% Freedom Food pork from RSPCA monitored British farms

New poll reveals Brits rank price, animal welfare standards, and traceability as the top factors behind their food purchasing decisions.

mcdolalds freedom pork

McDonald’s becomes first high street restaurant chain to serve 100% Freedom Food pork

McDonald’s is to switch to using 100% Freedom Food pork from British farms that meet strict RSPCA animal welfare standards across its entire UK menu, it was announced today. The move is McDonald’s latest step to provide consumers with locally- and responsibly-sourced food on the high street, and to continue supporting British and Irish farmers.

McDonald’s will become the UK’s second biggest buyer of Freedom Food pork, helping to strengthen the growing Freedom Food market. As a result, all sausage and bacon on its menu, from the popular breakfast McMuffins through to the bacon in premium salads and promotional burgers, will be from Freedom Food-approved farms.

The new welfare standard forms part of McDonald’s continuing commitment to align the quality and sourcing of its ingredients with consumers’ changing preferences and expectations. From the end of April, all pig farmers that supply McDonald’s will be required to provide bright, airy environments for pigs, bedded pens and plenty of space for them to move around.

A new poll of 2,000 UK adults indicates consumers will welcome the move:

  • Nearly three quarters (73 per cent), say they prefer to buy food that is produced from farms with high standards of animal welfare in place
  • People rank price, animal welfare standards, and traceability as the top factors behind their food purchasing decisions

Since McDonald’s worked with its suppliers to make the switch to free-range eggs 15 years ago, the free-range egg market has quadrupled in size. Currently, almost one third of British pig farmers meet the requirements of the RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme and McDonald’s hopes its support for this higher-welfare standard will attract more farmers to adopt Freedom Food standards on their farms.

piglets

Pigs on a Freedom Food farm as McDonald’s becomes first high street restaurant chain to serve 100% Freedom Food pork

Warren Anderson, Vice President, Supply Chain, McDonald’s UK, commented: “As a big customer of British and Irish farming, we are committed to using our scale to drive positive changes such as improvements in welfare standards. Not only will our move to Freedom Food pork make it easier for people to make affordable, ethical choices on the high street, we hope that more of Britain’s pig producers will have the confidence to invest in the future and adopt the RSPCA’s higher-welfare standards on their farms.

“It’s clear that animal welfare is now an important factor for consumers, alongside provenance and traceability. By increasing our investment in Freedom Food ingredients, our customers can continue to enjoy food that is responsibly-sourced, tastes great and is helping to support British and Irish farmers too.”

David Squair, Chief Executive of the RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme, commented: “The Freedom Food market has been growing for a number of years, but having one of the UK’s biggest restaurant chains serving only Freedom Food logoed pork on its menu marks a major milestone for animal welfare. McDonald’s has shown that it is possible to bring higher welfare food to consumers on the high street, and we hope that other restaurants will follow McDonald’s lead and more farmers will be inspired to adopt world-class animal welfare standards.”

David Heath, Food and Farming Minister, said: “It’s essential that consumers have confidence with the way their food has been produced and sourced. I welcome McDonalds’ commitment to supporting British farmers who work hard to produce food to higher welfare standards.”

The move to Freedom Food pork forms part of Farm Forward, McDonald’s long-term programme to create a sustainable future for British and Irish farming. Launched a year ago, in spring 2012, the programme has already made considerable progress in its first year delivering projects including:

  • Progressive Young Farmer Training Programme. The first intake of agricultural students are completing McDonald’s pioneering training programme that enables young farmers to work in every part of the supply chain from farm through to restaurant. After a successful pilot year, the second intake will start in July 2013
  • Free-of-charge ‘What If?’ digital tool to help beef farmers measure and benchmark their carbon emissions. McDonald’s and environment consultancy The ECO2 Project developed the tool based on a three-year research study among more than 200 beef farmers
  • New research to prove the welfare and economic benefits of providing tree cover to encourage free-range hens to roam freely outdoors, which McDonald’s has shared with egg producers across the UK
  • Sustainable Beef Clubs involving over 200 leading beef farmers, which are knowledge-sharing events delivered in collaboration with the abattoirs that supply whole cuts of quality British and Irish beef to McDonald’s

McDonald’s serves 100% British and Irish beef, 100% Freedom Food pork from British farms and free-range eggs on its UK menu. Other ethically-sourced menu choices include Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee and tea served with organic milk from UK dairies.

 

 

About McDonald’s UK

McDonald’s currently operates just over 1,200 restaurants across the UK, serving more than 3 million customers every day.

About Farm Forward

As a major customer of produce from British and Irish farmers, McDonald’s sources quality ingredients from over 17,500 British and Irish farmers. Through Farm Forward, it is building on its existing support for British and Irish farming with a series of individual projects built around five core commitments:

  • We’re passionate about serving great tasting food made with quality ingredients, so we’ll support and champion British and Irish farmers’ quality produce.
  • We’re committed to continually improving animal welfare within our supply chain and we buy from British and Irish farmers who continuously strive to raise welfare standards on their farms.
  • We want to keep buying British and Irish ingredients, and to do that we need more young farmers. Young people need more support in today’s competitive jobs market, and so we’ll create opportunities that help them get into farming.
  • Like the farmers who supply our ingredients, we care about looking after the countryside so we’ll help British and Irish farmers make environmentally-friendly improvements on their farms.
  • We’ll use the reach of our business to help share knowledge between farmers. Through this knowledge sharing, we’ll help farmers – who often have limited contact with the people who buy their produce at the till – keep their businesses in step with what consumers want.

Food sourcing

  • The move to Freedom Food pork forms part of Farm Forward, McDonald’s long-term programme to create a sustainable future for British and Irish farming.
  • 100% of McDonald’s beef is sourced from more than 16,000 British and Irish farmers.
  • 100% of McDonald’s Freedom Food pork is sourced from Britain.
  • Since 2007, McDonald’s has been using Organic Milk from UK dairies in all of its coffees, Happy Meal milk bottles and porridge. 100% of the milk used in milkshakes, sundaes, McFlurrys and bottles is sourced from Britain and Ireland.
  • McDonald’s only uses free range eggs in all its products. In 2007 McDonald’s won a Compassion In World Farming ‘Good Egg Award’.
  • McDonald’s UK uses eggs produced to the ‘Lion Quality Mark’, the gold standard in egg production, or equivalent, symbolising a high standard of egg production.
  • McDonald’s won the RSPCA Good Business Award in 2008 and again in 2009 for long term commitment in improving animal welfare. Overall McDonald’s have won 4 RSPCA awards in six years.
  • McDonald’s French Fries, Hash Brown and Potato Rosti are made from potatoes grown within the EU – the vast majority are grown in the UK.
  • McDonald’s serves Rainforest Alliance © certified coffee.

McDonald’s beef supply chain

  • All McDonald’s burgers are made from 100% beef with nothing added except a pinch of salt and pepper after cooking.
  • McDonalds’ only uses whole cuts of British and Irish beef, sourced from traceable, quality-assured farms. It doesn’t use any binders, fillers or trimmings in its burgers.
  • McDonald’s has built a first-class supply chain over almost 40 years, based on long-term relationships with trusted suppliers.
  • McDonald’s beef supply chain is short and transparent and there are just a few simple steps from the farms through to the food it serves in its restaurants.
  • McDonald’s voluntarily provided samples of all beef burgers currently available on its menu to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for their own tests. All tests, including McDonald’s own, confirmed no horse meat contamination.

Freedom Food

  • Freedom Food was set up by the RSPCA in 1994 to help improve the lives of animals farmed for food and act as a catalyst for change throughout the food and farming industry. It is a registered charity and non-profit making
  • Freedom Food labelled pork come from farms that are assessed to strict RSPCA welfare standards which go beyond the industry standards and legislation in many key welfare areas
  • Freedom Food approves outdoor reared, outdoor bred, indoor reared and free range pig farms where the RSPCA’s standards are met
  • All Freedom Food pork members (including hauliers, processors, packers and abattoirs as well as farms) receive annual assessments, and are also subject to visits by RSPCA farm livestock officers to check standards are maintained
  • Traceability checks are also carried out on Freedom Food labelled products back to farm – through processor, packer, abattoir and haulier – to ensure the product is correctly labelled
  • For more information visit www.freedomfood.co.uk

 

Advertise With Us

A 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.