Wednesday, September 30, 2020

McDonald's Expands Focus on Me to We Partnerships in 2021


Success does leave clues and industry leading companies understand that there is a increased unmet need that consumers are expressing when it comes to their everyday life and food, meals, and beverages.  That unmet need is being express in the form of more ‘sustainable’ food and beverage products that according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

In fact, according to NPD, consumers reported in July that 63% of their eating occasions during the COVID-19 outbreak have been atypical, meaning they’re eating and sourcing foods and beverages outside of their normal routines. That disruption has elevated consumers focus or ‘better for you’ sustainable food and beverage options according to Johnson.  

Around the world consumers are expressing greater sense of urgency around climate change and nature loss. In a new partnership, the Walmart Foundation, Cargill, and McDonald’s are investing over $6 million in an initiative led by World Wildlife Fund that aims to make lasting improvements to the grasslands of the Northern Great Plains.

This new program, known as the Ranch Systems and Viability Planning (RSVP) network, will support ranchers across the ecoregion—focusing primarily on Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota—with technical expertise, training and tools to help advance grazing practices that improve the health of the land. By improving management of one million acres over five years and avoiding conversion, this effort will result in increased carbon storage and sequestration, improved water infiltration and better outcomes for biodiversity.  

Kathleen McLaughlin, EVP and chief sustainability officer for Walmart and president of the Walmart Foundation stated, “Collaborative efforts like this can accelerate innovative, sustainable solutions and support ranchers in the beef supply chain,” … “Sustainable grazing practices that improve soil health, absorb carbon and reduce water consumption can help to protect the land and people who depend on it.”

Regular reader of this blog know that Johnson has been highlighting food companies that are focused on elevating 2021 in food as the year the industry focuses on “from Me to We” movement in food. That is expanding the ‘halo’ of ‘better for you’ food offerings within every sector of retail food.

Th RSVP program supports the Walmart Foundation’s focus to bring more sustainable, regenerative practices to the beef industry. The Foundation aims to build connections that can accelerate systems change and form communities of practice with grantees and leaders to share learnings, advance best practices, foster collaboration and scale collective impact. Investing in conservation activities in the Northern Great Plains supports the stewards of those lands and contributes to climate resilience efforts.  


The press release announcing this partnership stated this “also supports McDonald’s ambition to use its scale and many relationships from the farm to the restaurant to help significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and evolve the food system for a resilient and sustainable future. As the first restaurant company in the world to set an approved science-based target on climate action, McDonald’s is partnering across the supply chain to employ a diverse set of strategies, which scale-up action across the industry.”  

Francesca DeBiase, McDonald’s EVP, Chief Supply Chain and Sustainability Officer stated, “I’m proud of McDonald’s investment in programs like the Ranch Systems and Viability Planning network. These partnerships bring producers, suppliers, NGOs and brands to the table to drive the widespread adoption of more sustainable and regenerative practices that reduce emissions, mitigate climate change and support livelihoods,”  “This innovative work is an important step toward scaling climate solutions across the supply chain, building resiliency and achieving McDonald’s science-based climate target to significantly reduce emissions across our offices, restaurants and supply chain by 2030.”   

Extending the ‘halo’ even further this project is also part of Cargill’s BeefUp Sustainability initiative, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the company’s beef supply chain by 30 percent by 2030, measured on a per pound of beef basis against a 2017 baseline. Earlier this year, Cargill launched two other programs to support this goal, including a grassland restoration effort and an initiative to implement proven soil health practices in cattle feed.   

Heather Tansey, sustainability lead for Cargill’s protein and animal nutrition and health businesses stated “We believe beef cattle can be a force for good, and one of the ways we can address some of our shared challenges by preserving wildlife and drawing down carbon, … “This initiative is a testament to that. I’m inspired by the efforts of ranchers who live this belief each day, and grateful for our partners who join us lending scale, resources and experience to advance realistic solutions that address climate change.”  

In the Battle for Share of Stomach

are you keeping up? 

The Northern Great Plains ecoregion, which comprises approximately 25 percent of the total area of the Great Plains of North America, remains largely intact, thanks in part to its harsh climate, which has made agricultural expansion relatively difficult until recent decades. In fact, the NGP still supports 1,595 species of plants, which provide habitat for 300 species of birds, 95 species of mammals and 28 species of reptiles. The Missouri and South Saskatchewan Rivers, in addition to smaller prairie streams, riparian, and wetlands habitats, provide habitat for 13 species of amphibians and 121 species of fish. The remaining healthy ecosystems within this region are maintained largely by hardworking ranching communities. Grasslands have evolved to be grazed, and cattle grazing, when managed well, can deliver many conservation benefits, including healthy grasslands, improved soil, and the preservation of key habitats.

What will you be doing in 2020 to drive the ‘halo’ of better for you around your brand? Success does leave clues. One clue that time and time again continues to resurface is “the consumer is dynamic not static”.  Regular readers of this blog know that is the common refrain of Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Our Grocerant Guru® can help your company 253-759-7869. 

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