The Farm Forward scheme aims to help support British farming and ensure a sustainable future for farmers in the UK. It will focus on quality ingredients, animal welfare standards; work and training opportunities for young farmers and environmental and efficiency standards.
It has been developed in collaboration with leading farmers and agricultural experts. McDonald’s will invest £1m in the scheme in the first year.
One part of the initiative is a training programme for young farmers, which will offer 12 month placements with McDonald’s suppliers to agricultural students so that they can gain experience of every aspect of the supply chain.
It will also fund new research and innovation to encourage improvements in animal welfare standards.
McDonald’s has prominently supported British farming in its advertising campaigns in recent years, including in its 2012 Olympic activity.
It also invites consumers and schoolchildren to visit British farms as part of its ‘Open Farms’ initiative to show people what goes on along its supply chain and where its ingredients come from.
Brian Mullens, McDonald’s UK senior vice president of supply chain, says: “Supporting the next generation of farmers is vital if we are to secure the future of farming in this country, and our new work programme for young farmers is designed to help them develop the blend of skills and experience that progressive, modern farmers want and need.”
The fast food chain spends more than £320m each year on its UK supply chain, up from £269m in 2009 and buys ingredients from more than 17,500 British and Irish farmers. It serves only British beef in the UK.
The scheme is supported by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).