This is a sponsored post, in collaboration with McDonalds & the Mom It Forward Blogger Network. All opinions are my own.
Last week I asked y’all if you knew that McDonald’s was (is) one of the largest purchasers of apples in the restaurant industry. Well, they are. I didn’t know that. That’s one of the reasons I accepted the invitation to go on the #McDTour. I wanted to learn more about the food they make, since I am one of their customers (Filet-o-Fish & Smoothies!)
If you missed my post last week, I told you that in 2012, McDonald’s purchased 90 million pounds of raw apples-and that they’ve actually sold 1.1 billion packages of apple slices since March 2012. Mind blowing, right?! Wait, it gets better.
There have been 530 million individual packages of apple slices served with a children’s meal between Aug. 1, 2012 and July 31, 2013. WOW! I was excited about visiting the Chiquita/Fresh Express Processing Plant, where the apples arrive from the farm and are then prepared for shipment to McDonald’s. I had no idea the magnitude of the operation, until I saw it for myself. We boarded the bus early in the morning, headed to the processing plant. While on the bus, I got to watch a few McDonald’s owners interacting with each other and other members of the media. They were very gracious & sincere, and so enthusiastic about their products. It was refreshing to be around such upbeat & positive folks.
Once we arrived at the plant, we were briefed about the safety measures the plant follows and told what steps needed to be taken before we could step foot onto the processing floor. (They had hardhats for us & everything!)
We were broken up into groups and then led to the room where they keep all the gloves, boots, coats and all the gear we’d need before continuing on. Once we were suited up, we washed our hands and then put on gloves and arm gloves, smocks, hairnets, bump caps, & ear plugs. The men had to put on beard nets…hair nets for the beard. Getting our boots sanitized was the last step in the process. When we stepped foot onto the processing floor, I was amazed! First, it’s extremely cold in there, right around 33*-34*. The machines are very loud, we wore our earplugs the entire time. The room was huge and reminded me of a hospital room, because it was spotless- pristine! The machines were cranking out apples… lots & lots of apples! We were showed the entire process, from unloading them off the truck – to when they get bagged- it was fascinating! Seeing how much care goes into the preparation of the apples that are shipped to McDonald’s really was eye-opening. Watching the apples being unloaded from the trucks, straight from the farm, was reassuring. I knew it was ‘real’ food, contrary to what others may think. I also appreciate McDonald’s decision to provide more nutrition-minded choices to their customers.
Knowing how my food is prepared is very important to me, I was impressed with the way Chiquita/Fresh Express runs their operation. I’m glad I had the chance to see the whole process, from beginning to end-with my own eyes. Prior to this visit, I had no idea that I was eating Chiquita apples in my McDonald’s Salads… I grew up eating Chiquita bananas & buy them for my family. Seeing that Chiquita logo was comforting.
After the tour, we were treated to a delicious lunch, made entirely of McDonald’s ingredients by a couple of terrific Chefs … but that’s a post for another time! Stay tuned…