Leaders from across Northern Ireland’s agri-food, business and community sectors gathered today in Craigavon for a Business Breakfast event, hosted by McDonald’s UK and Ireland at its Rushmere restaurant.
Guests at the event heard from Beth Hart, Vice President Supply Chain and Brand Trust for McDonald’s UK and Ireland, who reaffirmed the brand’s commitment to its suppliers in Northern Ireland.
Hailing from Northern Ireland originally, Beth said she was “extremely proud” of McDonald’s suppliers here: “Northern Ireland punches well above its weight within the McDonald’s supply chain and our local suppliers set a very high benchmark in terms of the exceptional quality of their produce and their consistently excellent service.
“Northern Ireland based companies like Moy Park, Dawn Meats, Kerry Group and Huhtamaki are central to our UK and Ireland business, and we are proud to showcase them internationally within our system.”
McDonald’s UK and Ireland operates 34 restaurants across Northern Ireland – all run by seven local Franchisees who, collectively, employ over 3,500 crew members directly. Of the £100million McDonald’s contributes to the Northern Ireland economy every year, over £26million is spent directly with Northern Ireland farmers for produce such as beef and milk, as well as sourcing from local suppliers.
Reflecting the “great value” McDonald’s places on its relationships with farmers, growers and producers here, Beth continued: “As a business, we are passionate about where our food comes from and we celebrate our commitment to our Northern Ireland suppliers, who play a key role in producing some of our most iconic menu items and building trust in the quality and provenance of McDonald’s food.
“This is real food, from local farmers and producers, produced to an exceptionally high standard just around the corner.”
Owned and operated by McDonald’s Franchisee John McCollum, the Craigavon restaurant is one of four in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough which, collectively, employ over 500 people. John told guests – including MLAs for Upper Bann and local MP Carla Lockhart – that he had been “honoured” to have done business in the Borough over the past 25 years.
He said: “From the local ingredients we serve from local producers to the local people working in our restaurants here, and our longstanding partnerships with local football clubs like Annagh United, Banbridge Town, Lurgan Town and Oxford Sunnyside: this is a business that is very proud to be right at the heart of the local community.”
Following the Business Breakfast event, Beth Hart visited the Belfast base of one of McDonald’s longstanding suppliers in Northern Ireland, Huhtamaki – which manufactures sustainable fibre packaging for the brand, such as burger clamshells, fry cartons, paper cups, straws, bags, cup carriers and plastic-free fibre lids.
Neal McCone, Global Category Head QSR & Beverage, Huhtamaki Foodservice Europe, Asia, Oceania at Huhtamaki said: “Our local facilities at Belfast, Antrim and Lurgan currently employ more than 780 people and have been proud to serve McDonald’s across the UK and Ireland for more than 25 years with sustainable fibre-based packaging.
“We are committed to our innovation and investment focus in support of McDonald’s, our largest strategic global partner, and the dynamic Northern Irish restaurants run by its local Franchisees that contribute so much to the local community and economy.”