McDonald's sources strawberries used in its McCafe Strawberry Orange Mango Smoothie, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Strawberry Lemonades, and Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfaits from the berry important state of California between July and May.
According to the California Strawberry Commission, strawberries are known as “America’s Favorite Fruit,” and McDonald’s agrees. Strawberries are the perfect choice if you’re looking for something sweet or tart. McDonald’s is one of the nation’s largest restaurant purchasers of strawberries grown in a 500-mile swath of California from San Diego to San Francisco.
Getting strawberries from field to restaurant is a quickly choreographed dance. Six days a week, strawberries for McDonald’s restaurants are picked by hand and only the freshest are chosen. They are gently washed, sorted, sliced and either quickly flash-frozen or puréed to ensure the best flavor and appearance. Suppliers then use strawberry purée blended with fruit juices to make the McCafe Smoothie base and strawberries are shipped to restaurants for Fruit 'N Yogurt Parfaits to be prepared in the kitchens.
Behind the counter in McDonald’s kitchens, crewmembers blend smoothies using a strawberry purée, yogurt, and ice and twice daily prepare Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfaits for customers.
- McCafé Strawberry Orange Mango Smoothie was created for McDonald’s restaurants in northern California and is made with a strawberry purée that uses strawberries 100 percent grown from the central coast of California. It will be available at all McDonald’s restaurants in northern California from now through October.
- McCafé Strawberry Lemonade combines lemonade with strawberry purée poured over ice and garnished with a lemon slice. This delicious drink is available in the Chicagoland area from May until August.
- McCafé Frozen Strawberry Lemonade combines lemonade with a purée-base strawberry syrup and blended with ice. This refreshing drink is also available in the Chicagoland area from May 16 until August 2016.
- McCafé Strawberry Banana Smoothie combines strawberry banana smoothie base with ice and creamy low-fat yogurt. This flavorful blend is available nationwide.
- Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfaits combines low-fat vanilla yogurt layered with plump blueberries, sweet strawberries all topped with crunchy granola. This 150-calorie hand-prepared parfait is available nationwide and served all day.
With its combination of warm days, ocean breezes, and cool foggy evenings, California’s coastline produces more than 88 percent of the nation’s strawberries, according to the California Strawberry Commission. California’s strawberry fields are within 15–20 miles of the Pacific Ocean and the optimal locale for growing delicious strawberries.
McDonald’s works closely with multiple suppliers to assure its supply, including Sunrise Growers in California. Sunrise Growers is a multi-generational family farm that supplies strawberries for McDonald’s restaurants.
“The beauty of freezing strawberries for McDonald’s is that we are able to pick the berries at the absolute peak of ripeness, locking in all the flavor, color, and nutrition by washing, sorting, freezing, and packing the berries within 12 hours of them being handpicked from plants in our growers fields,” says Ed Haft, CEO of Sunrise Growers, one of the largest strawberry suppliers for McDonald’s.
All farms producing strawberries for McDonald’s are audited by third parties during each harvest season. Strawberries are packed into refrigerated trucks to their destinations. Independent, third party companies inspect every load of strawberries for quality, color, firmness, and character to ensure a great experience when you visit McDonald’s.