Rémi Rocca, Director of Purchasing, Quality and Logistics at McDonald’s France states that “we have tripled our volumes of fruit sales between 2008-2013, in the child menu. Half of fruit consumed by children outside of the home is consumed at McDonald’s”.

The fruit and Happy Meal adventure has been formed thanks to a partnership with Florette Food Services, their fruit and vegetable supplier for 30 years, specialising in the OOH (Out Of Home) sector and the company AZ Méditerranée based in Cavaillon.

Since the 9th September, and for a few more weeks, children will be offered the “P’tite Poire” (little pear) in their menus; sliced pears in a sachet, 100% French, of the Guyot and William variety, representing a total volume of 150 tons over 2 months. “Since the 9th September we have higher sales volumes than we thought. We will undoubtedly overtake the foreseen 150 tons” says Sébastian Tripon, Supply Chain Director at Florette Food Services. This proves that pears are popular in France, but unlike apples are hard to eat and often overlooked.

A visit to Jean-Pierre Grand’s 30 year old orchards makes it clear how high the quality of the harvest controls are. The orchards are economically sustainable and Globalgap certified. Regular controls allow them to survey the 2 predators : the codling moth and the psyllid. Sexual confusion is used to fight the codling moth and organic clay against the psyllid. They only harvest when the firmness and calibre are good, which means that the pickers have to be well trained. The Guyot pear was harvested in July and the William in August.

1,298 McDonald’s restaurants in France will offer the “P’tite Poire”. In 2013, over 70% of food produce bought by McDonald’s was from French agrifood companies. 1 million sachets will be commercialised over 2 months. AZ Méditerranée has a 20,000m² site, 240 employees and €74 million turnover. Florette Food Service France has 9,000m² in Torreilles, 300 employees and 18,000 tons of vegetables bought to be processed.

In pear farming it takes 6-7 years to have a good return on investment, but the tree lives a long time and improves over time. Once picked, the pears arrive at AZ Méditerranée, an ISO 22000 certified site. There they are sorted (the pears are not picked at maturity as it is rare that they are good when on the tree - they mature stocked at AZ) then sent to Florette Food Services near Perpignan where they are processed into slices of pears ready to eat!