Steve Easterbrook, Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s Restaurants UK


McDonald’s localised supply chain strategy means that they source 60% of all ingredients from British and Irish farmers. Steve explains how a growing and successful McDonald’s business is also a growth opportunity for their suppliers.

EFFP: McDonald’s are keen to point out where its beef, chicken, milk and potatoes come from, which is not something we would expect from a global fast-food brand. What is the driving force behind this?

SE: We are a global brand with American parentage, which means that consumers have confidence in us and know what they are getting in terms of consistency and value. However, when we enter new markets, whether it’s Australia, Germany, France or the UK, we look to build a level of critical mass and to support that by localising the business infrastructure which delivers an assured supply chain with integrity. Fundamental to us is establishing a local supply chain which has a viable agricultural industry to supply it, which the UK clearly does. We are now in our 35th year in the UK and over that time we have, wherever possible, looked to source our ingredients from Britain and Ireland.

EFFP: Let’s take a Big Mac Meal – the main ingredients of which are beef, bread, cheese, lettuce, onion, pickle, sauce and potatoes – how does McDonald’s UK procure each of these ingredients and where are they sourced from?

SE: In essence the approach doesn’t change because we source all our ingredients through established suppliers such as ESCA Foods Ltd, for beef. Where we source our ingredients from does change and this may simply be due to climate and geographies. If you take beef for our patties then there is sufficient availability at the right quality and at the right price to enable us to source from British and Irish farmers. Cheese is manufactured in Northern Ireland and from British and Irish milk as well as lettuce, which we buy from British producers when in season, so for about 9 to 10 months out of the year. We buy bread from a baker who uses a blend of UK and US wheat. Some ingredients we cannot source at all from the UK; for example, gherkins and sesame seeds so we need to buy these elsewhere. However, when you look at our shopping list of ingredients for all our products, 60% are sourced from Britain and Ireland.

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