McDonald’s launches new digital business tool to help farmers save money

Fast food giant McDonald’s has launched a new digital business tool, which aims to help the beef industry save money and reduce CO2 emissions.

During tests of the ‘What If?’ app, one Dorset farmer, farming over 227 hectares, identified potential savings of up to £9,917 by focusing on improving silage quality and gaining better feed conversion efficiencies. The app was developed as part of McDonald’s Farm Forward initiative, which aims to provide long-term support for British and Irish farmers.

McDonald’s worked in partnership with independent environmental consultant E-CO2 Project to develop an earlier version of the app based on Carbon Trust-verified data and 800 carbon assessments of beef farms. This was launched last year to help farmers measure their carbon emissions per kilo of beef. The app has now been developed to identify cost savings as well as CO2 emissions.

Connor McVeigh, director of supply chain at McDonald’s, commented: “As one of the biggest customers of British and Irish agriculture, we know that farmers want to drive efficiencies within their businesses and boost profitability.  That’s why we’ve worked with E-CO2 to develop the ‘What If?’ app. He added: “It’s our way of giving something back to over 16,000 beef farmers who supply our menu as well as the wider industry.”

Charles Sercombe, chairman of the National Farmers’ Union, who trialled the app, commented: “I found the tool easy to use and it demonstrates that some simple changes to farming practices can not only drive efficiencies, but also increase profitability. I’m pleased that McDonald’s has chosen to encourage all beef farmers to use the tool to see how they might benefit. This is a great example of how we can all work together to support a sustainable future for beef farming.”

The app is part of a £1m investment from McDonald’s, over six years, to help beef farmers and their businesses. Andrew Foot, who trialled the ‘What If?’ app on his farm, said: “Monitoring business performance on the farm is incredibly important and I’m always looking to learn from other sectors and use technology to increase my farm’s efficiency.”

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