Shortening the supply chain and emphasis on local production are benefits not only for business but also for the environment. By choosing domestic products rather than those imported from the other side of the world, we reduce the carbon footprint of long-distance transportation. And that's not the only plus. This solution is also used by the local community and smaller businesses.

Soon it will be 30 years since the opening of the first McDonald's restaurant in Poland. A lot has changed since then, and the brand has undertaken many environmental measures: it is gradually abandoning plastic packaging, phasing out plastic straws, 70% of restaurants use only green energy, and changing the menu. The company is also more and more rooted in Poland. Today, 90% of restaurants are run by franchisees. Moreover, more than half of the suppliers are companies located in Poland.

As much as 90% of McDonald's restaurants in Poland are run by over 75 domestic entrepreneurs. They are active members of local communities and have an impact on the country's economy. In 2019, 4.1 billion zlotys flowed into the economy from the operations of the McDonald's system. The company also purchased food products in Poland for almost half a billion zlotys.

The strength of locality

McDonald's works with 47 Polish suppliers, mainly from the agri-food sector. It has been working with some of them since its inception in Poland, i.e. since the 1990s. This long-term partnership is based on trust and mutual support.

From Poland come, among other things, potatoes for fries, the cultivation of which covers over 6,500 hectares, or beef for burgers, which is supplied to the supplier - OSI Food Solution by over 78,000 farms. The best symbol of McDonald's is the iconic BigMac burger, which consists of lettuce from Niepruszewo near Poznań, a roll from Strzegom and beef from Warmia and Masuria. In addition are fries, which have been made in the plant in Lębork for 25 years.

We develop and invest together

Thanks to stable cooperation with a large partner, suppliers from local family enterprises have become representatives of large business. They deliver their products not only to restaurants in Poland, but also throughout Europe. 

One of the most famous products at McDonald's are French fries. For over a quarter of a century, they have been supplied by Farm Frites from Lębork, which grows special varieties of potatoes. During this time, the company's production scale has increased fivefold, and employment by 150%. “According to our calculations, during the 25 years of cooperation with Farm Frites, we have sold 1 billion 128 million portions of this product. If the annual number of French fries sold were put in a straight line, its length would be from the ground up to the moon!” says Anna Borys, corporate director at McDonald's Poland.

Another example of the successful long-term cooperation between the Polish supplier and McDonald's is the company Green Factory from Niepruszewo, which has been supplying restaurants with vegetables since 1999. Initially, it was a small family business, today it has customers all over Europe and is a perfect example of the modernity of the Polish agri-food sector.

The local supply chain is not only about the highest quality and freshness of products on the McDonald's menu. It is also a joint pro-environmental investment aimed at reducing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere or reducing plastic consumption.

Around the world, McDonald's runs the Flagship Farmers project, which brings together a group of innovative farmers, using modern solutions, operating in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. Such farms are currently only found in 12 countries in Europe and, importantly, two of them are in Poland.

One of them is run by Farm Frites, which joined the program in 2008. The farm is equipped with modern agro-technical and technological solutions that guarantee good potato quality, food safety and greater neutrality towards the environment. The farm applies good practices to improve the condition of the soil, reduce the emission of pollutants into the air and water, and enable proper waste management. Field works are carried out with the use of the latest technologies of precision agriculture, thanks to which the level of interference in the environment is reduced and the local biodiversity is protected.

Cooperation with global brands such as McDonald's is a win-win. For the Polish agri-food industry, it is an opportunity to develop and significantly increase exports, and for McDonald's it means access to high-quality raw materials and shorter supply chains.

Text prepared by McDonalds
Title and lead prepared by the TOGETAIR editorial tea