The Quality Scouts campaign launches today (10 May) and opens up the company’s supply process at some of the 17,500 British and Irish farms that supply the business.
Scouts are selected from an online application process before visiting the farms and reporting back on how products such as the Big Mac and Fries and the Sausage and Egg McMuffin are made. McDonald’s will then publish the findings online alongside a series of videos documenting the scouts’ experiences later this year.
Former English Rugby Union player and 2011 Celebrity Masterchef winner Phil Vickery is fronting the campaign and will also help to select the scouts.
McDonald’s says the launch is in response to rising concerns from UK adults about the provenance and quality of their food after traces of horse DNA were found in several beef products on sale at supermarkets and restaurants in the UK earlier this year.
It polled 2,000 consumers and found that over half of adults (53 per cent) consider how food is produced when deciding which products to buy. Four out of five people (81 per cent) said it is important that ingredients are traceable to the farm they came from.
Consumers are paying particular attention to the provenance of red meat, according to a YouGov Sixth Sense report, with 20 per cent saying that where it comes from is very important.
McDonald’s, which was not found to be selling products containing horse meat DNA, ran a campaign at the time to highlight the source of its meat as it look to make the distinction between its own products and those of rivals such as Burger King, which was implicated in the scandal.
The company’s latest scheme comes at a time when the UK food industry is under pressure from consumers and the Government to improve transparency across the supply chain in the wake of the horse meat scandal.
Warren Anderson, vice president of supply chain at McDonald’s, says the initiative will give consumers “unique access behind the scenes”, letting them uncover the facts, and sharing their reports.
He adds: “Every day, people ask us questions about our food and our ingredients, so we’re inviting members of the public to see for themselves what’s in some of our most popular products and follow the journey from farm to restaurant.”
The initiative will be backed by a major advertising campaign to highlight the provenance of McDonald’s food after becoming the first UK fast food chain to source 100 per cent of its pork from Freedom Food accredited British farms.
The restaurant chain is looking to make provenance a bigger part of its marketing activity moving forward, a move in-line with its rival KFC.