No burger without beef
20th Mar 09, 11:17am
Arron Hoyle, the man who writes the NZ beef industry's biggest cheques, says,if you go into a McDonald's and they've run out of Big Macs, you get more than annoyed reports the Dom Post ." "We can't let that happen." Mr Hoyle is the beef-purchasing manager for McDonald's 880 restaurants in Australia and NZ and buys NZ beef for 70 % of the fast-food giant's 32,000 restaurants in 118 countries. He won't say how many tonnes of beef he buys, claiming that is commercially sensitive, but it has to be in the tens of thousands of tonnes a year and costs millions of dollars. He admits McDonald's is the industry's biggest customer "by a country mile". Supplying beef every day of the year runs counter to nature. Seasonal growth and reproduction cycles get in the way. The answer is special relationships with the main beef processors. In NZ, Silver Fern Farms, Anzco and Affco, and the small Waikato company Greenlea supply beef to Anzco's Waitara plant, where the patties are made. They contract farmers to meet the requirements of McDonald's. To keep the supply chain fluid, he buys under a variety of deals - from 12-month contracts with fixed prices and fixed volumes to purchases by the day. The biggest influence is the United States beef price. He is not a low-priced, spot-market buyer. "The reality is that we're in the market every week and we have a set of expectations that cannot be met on the spot market." These requirements include that the beef must come from animals that have been well treated on the farm - few off- farm moves, no electric prodders, optimal feed - from processing plants that minimise animal stress, and that the meat must be delivered to restaurants within 21 days of slaughter. They are another constraint on supply at off-peak times, but are essential to keeping the customer satisfied.The one thing NZ could do better is improve the traceability of its livestock, he says. "The National Animal Identification and Tracing system, is something that we just need to get done. It's not a grey area. We need to do it." How does Federated farmers justify opposing a system that NZ's biggest beef purchaser says we must be involved in ???