McDonald's to increase business with local suppliers
Fast food giant McDonald's has vowed to boost its business with Northern Ireland suppliers as it unveiled a new exhibit at the Balmoral Show.
McDonald's, which has 27 restaurants in Northern Ireland, is running a 'Foodsteps' exhibition at the agricultural extravaganza to educate the public about the provenance of its foods.
It uses virtual reality technology to bring the public into some of McDonald's main farms, factories and restaurants.
Speaking at the show, UK director of supply chain Connor McVeigh said the company had built strong relationships with suppliers here.
They included meat companies Linden Foods - part of Fane Valley - WD Meats in Coleraine, and Foyle Meats. Cheese made by Kerry Group, including in its Coleraine premises, is used by McDonald's restaurants around the UK.
And much of the company's packaging is manufactured by Delta Print and Packaging in west Belfast.
Mr McVeigh said the Foodsteps campaign aimed to tap into growing interest in food provenance.
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"People have a great interest in food - how it's produced, where it has come from."
The film exhibits cover how beef from Co Tyrone eventually comes to be served in McDonald's restaurants, while users can put on an Oculus VR headset to experience driving a tractor during a potato harvest
Mr McVeigh, who is from Downpatrick, spent 16 years of his career at Sainsbury's, before joining McDonald's just over two years ago.
As well as buying food and packaging from Northern Ireland suppliers, McDonald's has also used Marcon in Antrim to fit out its restaurants. Marcon was named McDonald's UK Supplier of the Year in 2016.
McDonald's recently launched new touch-screen ordering systems as part of a major revamp across its outlets.