The hottest culinary trend is locally sourced meats and seafood, according to the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot in 2011” chefs survey. Never one to shun a trend, McDonald’s is showing that burger chains as well as fine-dining restaurants can source locally.
The chain today introduced in Canada the Angus Third Pounder burger line that has been sold in the U.S. since mid-2009. The rollout is accompanied by marketing materials stressing that the burgers have “100% pure Canadian beef in every bite.” It’s a “locally sourced” claim that the chain is making wherever possible around the globe as a product-quality assertion and a local-business-supporter positioning, both of which are undeniably brand beneficial. As a consumer benefit, the new Canadian Angus burgers are available a la carte at half-price until April 18.
“Consumers are more interested in quality, sourcing and food safety than ever before, and for all the right reasons,” says Jeff Kroll, SVP-National Supply Chain for McDonald’s Canada in a release issued today. The announcement also includes a quote from Travis Toews, president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, saying McDonald’s “support for our industry is exceptional.”
McDonald’s claims that while it is the largest single buyer of U.S. beef, it also imports some beef from Australia and New Zealand to meet demand. As a result, the U.S. Angus rollout couldn’t carry a “Made in the USA” claim. But the Grand Angus and Mighty Angus burgers sold in Australia and New Zealand are marketed as 100% locally sourced beef. The Australia rollout included a “Hand In Hand with Australia” TV commercial spotlighting the chain’s long relationship with the country’s ranchers.
In the United Kingdom, McDonald’s promotes its use of beef “sourced from over 16,000 British and Irish farms.” In Ireland, the chain last month introduced a Ciabatta Deluxe burger that it promotes as 100% Irish beef. In Italy, too, all McDonald’s is raised in that country.
In France, McDonald’s burgers aren’t all locally raised beef, but in February it introduced the Le Charolais burger, a mini burger made from French-bred Charolais beef.