‘There has to be a compromise... even if it’s a few cents extra on a patty’ - Supermac’s boss Pat McDonagh on beef talks

Supermac’s MD Pat McDonagh
Picture Credit: Frank McGrath
Supermac’s MD Pat McDonagh Picture Credit: Frank McGrath
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

SUPERMAC’S founder Pat McDonagh has said that there has to be a compromise “on both sides” of the beef price debate – even if it means he’s paying more for his burgers.

Mr McDonagh was responding to comments made by IFA’s National Livestock Committee Chairman, Angus Woods, last week.

Mr Woods, a Wicklow livestock farmer, called on Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to invite the Supermac’s boss, McDonalds and Burger King leaders into the talks to set out what they are paying for prime, fresh, high quality Irish beef used as the key ingredient in their burgers.

Mr McDonagh has responded saying that there “has to be a margin in it for everyone”.

“We haven’t seen any decrease in what we’re paying for beef in the last 12 or 18 months,” Mr McDonagh told Independent.ie.

“But I’m sure everyone can sit down and come to a compromise. If it’s a few cents extra on the price of a beef patty then for the sake of everyone, but I don’t think that’s where the difficult arises from.”

The fast food chief said that he could see that farmers had “lost control of the future of their industry” and understands that they need to find a way to regain it.

“The guy at the bottom of the pile shouldn’t be carrying the can for everyone, because they’re the biggest risk takers of the lot,” he said. “I think everyone has contributed to producing this problem.”

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Speaking in conversation with AIB at their Shed Talks at the ploughing, when asked if Supermac’s faced a possible burger shortage, Mr McDonagh said “hopefully not”.

“At the end of the day, Ireland is well known for the quality of its food, for beef and food products. It would be an awful shame to damage the brand. 

“From an international point of view, we’ve to be extremely careful. Unity is what’s needed at the end of the day.

“There’s absolutely no point in injunctions and taking on legal cases all you're doing is making lawyers busy.”

Last week, IFA’s Angus Woods said Pat McDonagh’s words of support for livestock farmers are very welcome. 

"He is undoubtedly in a position of great influence in the trade. However, I understand that Supermac’s are paying between €3.00 and €3.50 per kg for prepared and boxed prime, fresh Irish beef – the key ingredient in the famous Supermac’s burgers. 

"This is less than farmers are paid for their cattle. How can this be the case?

“At this cost level, the raw meat content of a Supermac’s burger is costing Pat just 15c to 17c. These burgers are sold by Supermac’s at between €2.20 and €7.60 each.”

“Hostile buying practices by the food services sector plays a role in undermining the price that farmers get. It is disappointing that leading Irish companies engage in these practices.

“Irish buyers of Irish beef could pay more and still retain very high levels of profitability in their own businesses,” he said.

Online Editors


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