For a company that proclaims its loyalty to Canadian ranchers on the back and sides of its transport trucks, navigating a foray into the plant-based market is going to be somewhat tricky.
McDonald’s marketing director Jean-Guillaume Bertola fully understands that the company has to strike a balance between adapting menus based on changing consumer preferences, and celebrating and nurturing the community it has built with its Canadian value chain members — farmers and ranchers.
Bertola says its “Not without Canadian ranchers” campaign is just one part of the company’s commitment to Canadian producers and to continued improvement of the beef industry. As a founding member of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, McDonald’s has been at the forefront of bringing branded sustainably-raised product to the fast food market.
There’s also support for sharing what practices go in to this value chain. Recently, an Alberta rancher was the first Canadian to be recognized as one of the company’s “model farmers,” a means to “amplify the stories of exceptional farmers that exemplify best practices,” Bertola says.
Though McDonald’s originally said it would stay out of the plant-protein marketing, the company is moving forward with a Beyond Meat-based “P.L.T.” Bertola says support for the recent plant-protein initiative has no impact on McDonald’s continued commitment to the beef sector, noting, “It’s a response to consumer demand, and we want to explore that as well, to have variety on the menu.”
Listen on to Bertola’s full discussion with Shaun Haney, recorded at Canada’s Ag Day at Ottawa, Ont.