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McDonald’s in Italy picks 20 young farmers to become suppliers

by Emanuele Scarci

McDonald’s has picked 20 young farmers to become suppliers of the giant restaurant chain for the next three years.

The McDonald’s “Fattore futuro” (“Future farmer”) project aims to support farmers under 40 years old in the development of their enterprises by doing business with them.

In the first six months, there were 130 candidacies of farmers and herders operating in 7 segments of the industry: beef, poultry, grain, salad, potatoes, fruit, milk.

“McDonald’s believes in Italy,” said McDonald’s Italia CEO Roberto Masi, “and it is an active member of the Italian food system, from which it buys 80% of its ingredients.”

Masi added: “We are happy to welcome these 20 young entrepreneurs to the McDonald's system which will give them the assurance of a multi-year contract and the possibility to be inserted into a system that, thanks to our partners, works on an international level with production systems and cutting edge certification systems.”

Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina thanked the company and reminded everyone of Italy’s efforts to reach the European average of 8% represented by farmers younger than 40.

“The many new VAT identification numbers, growing by 30,000, activated in the agriculture sector in 2014 and the boom of subscriptions to agricultural institutes and the departments of the industry are all positive signs,” he said.

“We must continue to work by providing the tools which facilitate access to land or farms for those under 40. Furthermore, the integration of young farmers and the distribution system is needed.”

The announcement was made at Expo Milano 2015, where McDonald’s has served 1.2 million meals in six months, with revenues of €6 million: these are the results of the McDonald's restaurant at the East Roserio entrance.

For CEO Masi, the results are satisfying (the average receipt was for €5) together with the fact that McDonald's won the space of the exhibition site through a contest giving it the opportunity “to break through some barriers and preconceptions.”

“The largest food company in the world had to be present at Expo,” he said, referring to Expo’s theme of nutrition and sustainable farming.

In Italy, McDonald's controls more than 500 restaurants and last year it had a turnover of €1.4 billion. The year before, McDonald's Development Italy (includes the activities of the directly managed restaurants and royalty franchisees) saw revenues of €373.6 million (from €366 million the previous fiscal year).