OKC-Based Processor Behind McDonald's Non-Frozen Beef Menu Brings Chain Some Fresh SizzleMon, 03 Jun 2019 11:59:21 CDT
Oklahoma City based processor, Lopez Foods, is one of five providers across the United States that supplies McDonald’s its beef. It is a relationship that has been ongoing for decades. John Patrick Lopez of Lopez Foods, recently sat down with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays to discuss the company’s role as a supplier to a major restaurant chain and how it has helped to pivot McDonald’s hamburger product line. According to Lopez, Lopez Foods originally began supplying McDonald’s with fresh beef patties back in 1968. He explained that as the company grew, it eventually switched its order in 1971 from fresh to frozen beef patties to compensate for emerging logistical challenges. Over the past few years, though, McDonald’s has been working with Lopez Foods to make the switch back to fresh patties. Since then, Lopez says customers have already noticed the difference.
“Lopez Foods led the way for the fresh beef program for McDonald’s,” Lopez said. “We’re very proud of that. It is a wonderful product and we’re very excited about it.”
After McDonald’s made its request to develop a fresh beef program that could accommodate its current supply chain, Lopez says his company began targeting the iconic Quarter Pounder patty. For several years, he says the company worked to perfect its fresh beef patty, developing it in a way that would not jeopardize neither taste, quality or safety. In the end, Lopez says they delivered a patty that when cooked to their exact specifications is better, hotter and juicier. The product was first sold in test markets before its official debut in 2018. Immediately, he says, consumers noticed the difference and since then sales have shown increased consumer enthusiasm.
“They could tell immediately there was a quality difference. People who were only occasional customers said they would come by more frequently,” he said. “That’s when we knew we had a home run.”
Lopez says that while delivering a better product certainly helps drive consumer demand, another important component in successful marketing these days is making sure to share the industry’s story of sustainability. This, he says, has become an important issue to consumers in recent years as they have become more aware of where their food comes from. He adds that if the industry is not vocal about its own sustainable efforts, critics will fill that void with their own rhetoric.
“If we don’t tell our story, someone else will tell it for us and as a result, it will negatively impact either a product or a business or a category,” Lopez said, explaining the importance of getting out in front of the issues. “If you don’t engage with your consumers in terms of transparency and tell your story - invite them in, share what you do - they won’t believe you.”
Listen to Lopez explain in more detail McDonald’s transition from frozen to fresh beef and the importance of transparency with Hays, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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