I keep seeing these McDonald's billboards around town advertising their local selections. Yesterday it was an ad that said, "Grown in Washington, Dipped in Ballard", referring to their apples (Ballard is a neighborhood in Seattle where I live). A few weeks ago, it was "Served in Ballard, Grown in Richland", regarding the potatoes for their fries.
Of course, when you are driving down the freeway, you don't notice the fine print that says, "Participation and duration may vary." A McDonald's spokesperson stated that 95 percent of the fries served in the Northwest are grown on farms in Washington, Idaho, or Oregon, 95 percent of the fish in their sandwiches comes from Alaskan waters where the Seattle fleet fishes and 88 percent of the apples come from the Treetop Company which buys apples from Washington State orchards.
It economically makes sense for the company to use local resources and these statistics haven't changed in years. They are just now promoting it, but it makes it sound like as if they are just now going out of their way to choose local. The impression is that they are doing it to support local business or to reduce carbon emissions. But, it's just good for business.
According to some, the recent local marketing efforts in the food-service sector are all about "removing the impression that they're taking money away from the 'mom and pop' shop that doesn't really exist." I wonder if they use the same potatoes, fish and apples nationwide and we just happen to be "local" to those resources.
So, should it matter that they are promoting the local angle? Isn't that what it's all about? Or is it greenwashing? Do you have McDonald's "local" billboards in your area?