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Chicken now more popular than beef at UK McDonald’s

Fast food chain McDonalds has announced it will ramp up its procurement of British chicken and that poultrymeat is now more popular than beef in its restaurants.

Connor McVeigh, supply chain director at the chain, told delegates at the Egg and Poultry Industry Conference this week that, by 2020, the volume of poultrymeat from British farms would be “10-11 times higher than it was in 2013”.

Connor McVeigh, supply chain director: “Clearly customers attitudes are changing, and that has prompted us to think differently about what’s on our menu.” Photo: Brian Robert Marshall
Connor McVeigh, supply chain director: “Clearly customers attitudes are changing, and that has prompted us to think differently about what’s on our menu.” Photo: Brian Robert Marshall

Mr McVeigh was unable to give an exact percentage of its chicken that would be British by that date, saying that work to define exactly how procurement would change was still underway.

Consumer move from beef to chicken

But he explained that consumer preference had changed to the extent that McDonalds, a business that has traditionally been beef-focused, now found its chicken products were more popular.

“Clearly customers attitudes are changing, and that has prompted us to think differently about what’s on our menu,” he said.

Higher cost of UK breast meat had been an obstacle

Mr McVeigh added that its customers’ expectation that products would contain only breast meat, coupled with its comparatively higher cost in the UK had traditionally been a limiting factor for its procurement.

By 2020 10-11 times more UK chicken

That was changing, he said. “I’m absolutely clear by 2020 we will be in the positon where the volume will be 10-11 times what it was in 2013. In the coming weeks we will be working with our partners at Moy Park and Cargill on the exact details.”

McDonalds has, in the past, been criticised for its focus on farm-led marketing for its beef, eggs, milk and potatoes not extending to chicken, which is sourced from Europe, Thailand and Brazil, as well as the UK.

Mr McVeigh also outlined some of the recent work it had done with free-range egg farmers, producing advertising based on an extensive tree-planting scheme for hens’ ranges.

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