Ann Fitzgerald: It's time to beef up the good news message about our food industry
McDonald's is the world's largest restaurant chain. Founded in America in the 1940s, it currently serves some 69 million customers a day, across more than 37,000 outlets. Over 150,000 customers a day visit Ireland's 92 McDonald's.
Last week, despite what it termed, "difficult trading conditions and low consumer confidence," the fast food chain revealed it increased annual profits by 4.5pc and stated that it expects to open a further 1,200 restaurants in 2019.
Marketing is obviously central to its success.
I have it on good authority that the company has decided that, even though it is working hard in the background at reducing its carbon footprint and that of its suppliers, it is not using the concept of sustainability in their marketing campaigns.
Apparently, this is because they believe that consumers do not understand sustainability and any messages about it just confuses them.
There is certainly little association with sustainability in the TV ad that McDonald's is currently running in Ireland, 'Oh What a Beautiful Morning'. It focuses on feel-good farming images, like busy, early-rising farmers, happy clucky free-range hens and cascading golden straw.
Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from this for the marketing of Irish primary products, especially beef, which is currently under sustained attack on a number of fronts?
Incidentally, while the current demonisation of beef as a foodstuff may feel overwhelming, keep in mind that this is a journey which has already been taken by the likes of butter, salt and sugar. This leads me on to an idea for a TV ad that my colleague Martin Coughlan has come up with.