Short supply chain steers McDonald’s clear of horsegate

A short, simple supply chain with long-term connections helped McDonald’s stay clear of the horsemeat scandal, delegates to the Outlook Conference were told last week.

Connor McVeigh, UK supply chain director with McDonald’s, told delegates to the AHDB-organised event that the horsemeat crisis rocked the entire industry, and said it occurred because supply chains were not robust enough and some businesses lost sight of their customers.

“I’m not here to point fingers, but the horsemeat scandal rocked, to the foundations, our entire industry. At McDonald’s, I’m proud to say, our supply chain was not affected, but we cannot take customer trust for granted.”

He said, as a result, consumers were questioning the food they buy more and more.

He said the key to McDonald’s success was down to the long-term relationships it had formed with its suppliers since first arriving in the UK 40 years ago and the fact it had kept its supply chain short and transparent. “The only step between OSI [McDonald’s burger supplier] and the farm is the abattoir in-between and the burgers are delivered directly from OSI into the restaurants.

“The key to maintaining supply and not running out of Big Macs is long-term relationships. We call our suppliers partners,” he added. Those long-term relationships showed in the fact that OSI was now about to invest £6m on expanding its Scunthorpe facility to supply the chain, which serves 3m customers a day from 12,000 restaurants.

As part of the company’s commitment to working with its supply partners, McVeigh said it had created a ‘What if?’ tool to allow farmers to measure their carbon emissions. He said that tool was now being updated to give farmers the chance to also measure the financial benefits of efficient production.


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