France: McDonald’s Grand Veggie burger

McDonald’s is testing a new vegetarian burger, the Grand Veggie, on their menu. The vegetables used are produced by a Val de Saire farmer in the Manche, Etienne Godan. He already supplies McDonald’s with salad, and now also cabbage. Delphine Smagghe, Vice President of Purchasing, says that “When we decided to launch the product, we worked for many months with the company Florette, from Lessay (Manche) to develop the recipe. It was team work, of which one of the main interlocutors was Etienne Godan”. 
The 29 year old producer explains that he launched into supplying salad for the fast food chain 3 years ago as part of a programme for young farmers. He produces 300 tons of salad and 350 tons of cabbage over the 16 hectares of the family-run business, Les Grands Jardins, which he took over. Most of his production is used to garnish the burgers sold all over France. 
The new vegetarian burger recipe offers red and white chopped cabbage 100% from Normandy. Delphine Smagghe explains that for the 6 week trial period, the Grand Veggie requires over 60 tons of cabbage and they work with 14 other producers. “In total, we work with 300 farmers and breeders in France”. 
The partnership is a good opportunity for Etienne Godan, as it ensures a significant financial certainty. He also believes that the burgers are important for consumer habits, “The sales of these burgers notably effect the young, and thanks to this, we are making them rediscover cabbage, a forgotten vegetable. And consumers are sure it will be of good quality”. This is a bonus point for McDonald’s who, for a few years now, have been trying to disassociate themselves from junk food and have a healthier image. 

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