Sourcing McDonald’s ingredients from Canadian farms tastes good

·5 min read
McDonald's Canada employee carrying a box of Grade A Canadian eggs
Photo via McDonald's Canada

You may think you’re an expert on McDonald’s World Famous Fries, with an ability to recognize their mouthwatering smell from a distance, before you’ve even caught a glimpse of the iconic Golden Arches. But what about all the hard work and care it takes in order to get those delicious fries into your hands? Turns out, there’s more to it than you think.

Supporting the communities where Canadians live

Whatever your go-to menu item or favourite order is, McDonald’s has always strived to serve the great-tasting, quality food you know and love.

Not only does McDonald’s Canada source all of its beef from domestic suppliers for its craveable burger patties, it also turns to Canadian farmers to source ingredients like Canada Grade A eggs, dairy, and – you guessed it – potatoes. In fact, each year, McDonald’s Canada sources ingredients from nearly 50,000 Canadian farms and purchases more than $887 million in food and materials.

As the world's largest manufacturer of frozen potato products, McCain has been supplying McDonald’s with the iconic fries we all know and love for over 30 years, partnering with more than 130 growers in Canada to support McDonald’s production needs in New Brunswick, Manitoba and Alberta.

Together, McDonald’s and McCain are committed to supporting Canadian potato farmers, enabling local communities to thrive, and creating improved conditions for workers while encouraging regenerative agricultural practices. In fact, the two companies have just created the McDonald’s McCain Future of Potato Farming Fund, which will offer grants totaling $1 million to Canadian potato growers to implement regenerative agricultural practices to build soil health and resilience.

From humble potato to celebrated French fry

So how do those delicious fries end up on your tray and in your delivery bag? As with all great tales, we’ll need to start at the source: before every glorious fry comes an equally superb potato.

Canadian farmer picking potatoes for McDonald's Canada French fries
Photo via McDonald's Canada

The journey begins with potato farmers supplying freshly-picked potatoes, which then make their way to one of McCain’s plants. Shortly after arrival, the potatoes are washed, peeled, and cut into strips.

Then comes the drying and a quick frying for 45 to 60 seconds, followed by a trip to the freezer. Once frozen, the fries are packaged and shipped to your local McDonald’s, where they’re fried in 100% vegetable oil, salted, and, at long last, placed in their iconic red French fry box.

McDonald's Canada French fry packaging, fry box and fry bags in multiple sizes
Photo via McDonald's Canada

Why responsible local sourcing matters

McDonald’s approaches responsible sourcing holistically, considering the brand’s impact on the planet, the livelihoods of the people who produce its food, the communities in which they live, and the well-being of the animals the company relies on.

But it’s not enough to go at it alone—which is why McDonald’s actively seeks out partners and suppliers who align with these values, joining forces to develop initiatives that help build a flourishing, resilient food system. What exactly does that look like? Here are just a few examples:

As you bite into your juicy Big Mac, you can take comfort knowing that 100% of the beef in McDonald’s patties is sourced from Canadian farmers and ranchers. See more of the farm to table journey, featuring Andrew Gunadie and Manitoban cattle rancher Kristine Tapley here.

For those who can’t live without their morning brew, McCafé Premium Roast Coffee and espresso is made with 100% ethically sourced Rainforest Alliance Certified Arabica beans and is roasted in Canada.

Craving a signature Egg McMuffin? You might be surprised to learn that your egg came from a local Canadian farm. In fact, McDonald’s sourced more than 600 million Canada Grade A eggs from 2017 to 2021. Yes, you read that right—600 million.

Concerned about fishing practices? 100% of the Alaska Pollack McDonald’s serves in its Filet-O-Fish sandwich is certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

These initiatives, and more, reflect McDonald’s ongoing mission to make it easy for Canadians to trust the brand and admire its values. After all, it’s always been about much more than a burger to McDonald’s. It’s about feeding and fostering communities across Canada.

Ambitions for the future

With the goal of serving up a better tomorrow, McDonald’s Canada recently shared its plans for continuing to drive positive change in our communities and for our planet.

Among the many actions McDonald’s is taking to invest in the future is a renewed commitment to serving great-tasting, quality food that supports the next generation of Canadian farmers. This includes continuing to source ingredients from Canadian farms, supporting regenerative agricultural practices through a $5 million Forage Program in partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada (which will return 125,000 acres of cropland to grass and pasture by 2025), the introduction of the new $1 million McDonald’s McCain Future of Potato Farming Fund, and, of course, by continuing to support sustainable beef production here in Canada. It’s even led them to source at least 30% of the beef for McDonald’s Quarter Pounder burgers from farms and ranches certified to Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) standards.

Through its commitment to being a responsible global citizen and good neighbour, and making a tangible difference through its supply chain, McDonald’s is creating a meaningful impact in its communities, and beyond. And we know one thing is for certain: we’ll never look at a simple French fry quite the same way again.

At McDonald’s, the future is golden. Visit McDonald’s Canada to learn more about all the good the iconic brand is doing to support Canadian communities, so you can Love what’s next.