The Big Mac has gone green in time for St Patrick’s Day – Irish beef is now dominant at McDonald’s fast food outlets all across Europe.
The American burger chain has just announced record exports of $150million worth of Irish beef from Ireland to continental Europe.
Irish beef farmers now supply more meat for Big Macs and happy meals than any other country in Europe.
The figure is up from $110million in 2007 according to the McDonald’s Restaurant Company of Ireland.
Managing director John Atherton has confirmed that
40,000 tonnes of beef are exported to McDonald’s restaurants in Europe from Ireland every year.
Some 5,000 tonnes, or $9 million worth of Irish beef, is used by McDonald’s for the domestic market.
Atherton runs the company which holds the Irish franchise for the McDonald’s brand and confirmed that a marketing meeting in France last year helped drive the surge in demand from Irish suppliers.
“It is helpful for those companies that are supplying to us,” Atherton told the Irish Times.
“McDonald’s Europe is the single largest purchaser of Irish beef, with one in every five burgers sold in the European chain being of Irish origin.”
Irish beef is now used in 1,200 restaurants and also in France and across the Nordic countries.
The McDonald’s franchise currently employs 3,850 staff in 77 restaurants in Ireland where sales were up slightly to about $280 million in 2010.
“People were spending less but we were getting more people in through the doors,” said Atherton.