McDonald’s next week continues its efforts to highlight local products in Europe with the introduction in Italy of a new burger made from local Piedmontese and Chianina beef. According to Italian news agency Ansa, the burger is the result of a partnership with Italian meat supplier Gruppo Cremonini and the Coldiretti association of Italian farmers and ranchers.
Coldiretti President Sergio Marini called the partnership an opportunity to introduce young Italians to “the extraordinary quality of the meat of the Italian native breeds that are a wealth of biodiversity, food security and nutritional values, unique and exclusive in our country.” Piedmontese and Chianina are native to central and northern Italy. The new burgers will be available in Italy beginning Nov. 13.
Three years ago, McDonald’s worked with the government of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to create a “McItaly” burger, made with entirely locally sourced Italian ingredients, including beef (but not Piedmontese and Chianina), Asiago cheese, lettuce and bread. The burger was launched with advertising proclaiming “McDonald’s speaks Italian.”
The product brought the expected complaints from some quarters but also was popular enough to spawn followups. In 2011, Michelin-starred chef Gualtiero Marchesi created a McItaly Vivace burger topped with bacon, salted spinach, marinated onions and mayo with mustard seeds. That was followed by his McItaly Adagio, a burger with an eggplant mousse along with tomato and ricotta salata cheese on a bun topped with chopped almonds.
McDonald’s has introduced similar local-foods products elsewhere in Europe. Last year it added a mini burger made with local Charolais beef to its menu in France. In Switzerland it created the McZuri burger in 2011, made from 100% ground Swiss veal, while the McIberica burger in Spain featured local Iberico ham, Manchego cheese and Spanish olive oil.
In the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina and other markets McDonald’s promotes its use of locally raised beef. In the U.S., the vast majority is American beef, with some Australian and New Zealand beef added to meet demand.