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Harper Adams helps McDonalds to follow foodsteps

Posted 10 May 2016

“This is a great project and will help to support our message that there is a job in the agri-food sector for just about everyone!"

The Guess my Job experience at Balmoral Show this week

Harper Adams University is proud to have assisted McDonald’s UK in developing its newly unveiled nationwide campaign to champion British and Irish farming. 

Follow our Foodsteps will pioneer the latest in virtual reality technology and 360° video to tell its UK food story through the eyes of the people who grow,  produce and prepare food for its UK menu.

Follow our Foodsteps forms part of Farm Forward, McDonald’s UK’s long-term programme to address the challenges facing the sector.  The campaign has been launched at a time when industry statistics show the UK food and farming industries are hungry for fresh talent across a vast array of areas, including farming, horticulture, engineering and food development. According to the Food and Drink Federation, there is a need to attract 109,000 new recruits into the food industry by 2022 as the UK population is projected to rise by 4.4 million in the next decade. 

McDonald’s UK brought together a collective of tech developers, young farmers and food experts, challenging them to use technology to give the public a real-life glimpse of how the food on its menu is made and where it comes from. The resulting experience, which embarks on a journey across the UK from today, will transport consumers behind the scenes on some of McDonald’s UK’s flagship farms, factories and restaurants – all without having to physically be there.  

Visitors will be transported behind the scenes through the following experiences:

•‘Top of the Crop’ virtual reality challenge: An Oculus VR headset will invite users to test their skill behind the wheel of a tractor during a potato harvest as they are judged on speed, accuracy and the quality of the successfully harvested crop. 

•Samsung Gear VR headsets with immersive 360° video: This series of immersive videos will transport visitors to an organic dairy farm in South West England and a free-range egg producer in Cumbria, before giving them the chance to look around one of the two dedicated production facilities that make McDonald’s 100% British and Irish beef patties.

•Immersive cinema experience for a crew-eye view: People will step into an immersive cinema and follow McDonald’s crew as they take an order and prepare food in a busy restaurant kitchen.

•‘Guess my Job’ food and farming skills challenge: This experience includes a food and farming skills challenge, developed by McDonald’s in collaboration with leading agricultural university Harper Adams, the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board and McCain Foods UK.

Laura Coulthard, who heads up the university team that supports schools careers advisors and attends careers fairs throughout the country to help young people choose the right path, helped with Harper Adams University’s input into the McDonald’s experience. 

She said: “This is a great project and will help to support our message that there is a job in the agri-food sector for just about everyone! 

“There’s so much more to farming than just working the land or handling livestock. Agri-food companies need scientists, engineers, business brains, marketers, IT specialists and so much more. It’s also not just a business for people from rural areas. Everyone has to eat, so career opportunities are everywhere!”

Starting on Friday, the Follow our Foodsteps experience began a 2,000 mile journey across the UK. All of the farmers, food developers and experts featured in the immersive experiences form part of McDonald’s own leading UK supply chain.  

Connor McVeigh, Director of Supply Chain, McDonald’s UK, said: “By bringing together tech developers with farmers and food experts, we have created an immersive virtual reality experience that will allow people to follow in the footsteps of farmers, suppliers and our crew, bringing the best of UK food production from the countryside to communities across the UK.  Our hope is that it will help build pride in British and Irish farming, challenge outdated stereotypes and celebrate the best of food and farming in the UK today.”

Harper Adams is also on tour as of this week – starting tomorrow at the Balmoral Show, where the new Ultimate Bug Challenge will get under way. 

 

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