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Where Does McDonald’s Get Their Meat?

where does mcdonald's get their meat

McDonald’s, one of the world’s most loved fast-food restaurants, has a menu full of tasty burgers, sandwiches, and drinks. So popular, in fact, that I’m sitting in a McCafe right now, sipping my Iced Latte whilst writing this article!

But it’s not just me…

On average, there are 75 McDonald’s hamburgers sold every second, which equates to 6.5 million hamburgers each day, across the globe. So, with that mind-boggling information at hand, you might be wondering where does McDonald’s get their meat?

So, Where Does McDonald’s Meat Come From?

Across the United States, there are 13,438 Macca Dee’s restaurant locations. That makes for a lot of stores that need a lot of food each and every day. So, who is the supplier of all the beef and chicken to make delicious burger patties?

That demanding role is actually split between two main suppliers. Namely, Keystone Foods and Lopez Foods. These two companies work together as an integral link in the food supply chain for most USDA-inspected meats used in McDonald’s Burgers, Breakfast McMuffins, and Chicken McNuggets.

Keystone Foods

One of the biggest contributors to the success of McDonald’s restaurants, Keystone Foods, is also one of the biggest ingredient suppliers to date. Keystone Foods founder, Herb Lotman, developed the IQF hamburger patty, which McDonald’s has used since its creation in the 1960s. Not only this, but Herb also revolutionized the way each restaurant got its supplies, as well as being the driving force behind your Chicken McNuggets!

But more on the last two facts later…

IFQ Patties And Keystone Foods

What is an IQF hamburger patty, I hear you ask? It’s the name of a special type of process for freezing meat patties without messing with the integrity of the meat. Herb Lotman developed a technique in which each meat patty was frozen quickly and individually at very low temperatures.

This ensured that he could maintain the meat’s original taste and texture rather than losing it to freezer burn. This technique, dubbed the IQF or Individual Quick Freezing process, became a huge success and catapulted his small family-run beef business into the giant conglomerate that it is today.

IFQ Patties And Keystone Foods

And I’m talking gigantic…

As of 2023, Keystone Foods create, make and deliver food products to 13 different countries across the world. This includes the likes of Asia, Australia, New Zealand, North America, the Middle East, and many countries in Europe. Furthermore, the IQF technique that Herb created in the 1960s is still used worldwide to this day. Nothing else has surpassed its unique methodology.

Keystones not only supply McDonald’s with a range of beef, fish, and poultry items but also supply them in huge amounts. We are talking in the hundreds of millions of pounds. For example, most years, Keystones provides the following, and just to McDonald’s in the United States alone:

  • 300 Million Pounds of Chicken – for Chicken Sandwiches and Chicken McNuggets
  • 150 Million Pounds of Beef – for 100% beef patties for McDonald’s Burgers
  • 15 Million Pounds of Fish – namely Alaskan Pollock for the Fillet-O-Fish

Not only do they supply meat in these numbers, but they go above and beyond USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) regulations. In doing so, Keystones ensures that McDonald’s meats meet the strict rules and requirements when it comes to:

  • Animal Welfare Requirements
  • Product Safety Requirements
  • Product Quality Requirements

Revolutionizing Customized Supply Deliveries

After the roaring success of the quick frozen hamburger patties, Herb didn’t stop there. Again his smarts shone as he worked with McDonald’s Corporation to develop a total distribution concept. This meant that every single thing needed to run a McDonald’s restaurant was delivered in one easy delivery, by a single lorry.

Why a single lorry?

A single daily delivery saves so much time compared to several over the course of the day. This means more time for employees to focus on delivering top-notch customer service and continuous quality control. It’s a win/win and incredibly innovative!

Along Came The Chicken McNugget

Keystone and McDonald’s food creators then invented world-famous Chicken McNuggets and released them with a roaring success in 1981. Due to supply issues for boneless chicken, it took a few years to be able to release them worldwide. The McNugget truly revolutionized the way in which the world ate chicken.

Lopez Foods

Lopez Foods have been in business with Macca’s for over 30 years. They first began this journey by supplying frozen meat patties to them in 1968. Albeit under a different trading name, Lopez-Dorada Foods, established under the parent company of Wilson Foods, were pioneers in the meat packing industry at the time. This was a successful endeavor, and as the Wilson Foods brand reinvented itself and was bought out by Tyson Foods, the relationship held true.

Lopez Foods

Lopez Foods came about in 1995 after a division sold the Dorada branch off to Tyson Foods to create a partnership to produce poultry products. Then Lopez Foods continued on with beef production. To this day, Lopez Foods supply 100% beef patties to McDonald’s, not just in North America but across Central America as well.

That about answers the question of where does McDonald’s get their meat, but I bet you’re asking…

What About Fish, Veggies, And Everything Else?

McDonald’s has over 385 suppliers, and this is just in the United States alone. Everything from potatoes, pickles, and cheese to coffee is outsourced from a variety of farms and dairies. Wisconsin, Washington, California, and Minnesota areas are where the majority of suppliers are based. Here’s a little peek inside that list with some examples of producers that make up parts of the all-important supply chain.

What About Fish, Veggies, And Everything Else


McDonald’s Fries are some of the best in the world, and there are three main suppliers of these fabulous underground-grown veggies:

  • 100 Circle Farms
  • Frank Martinez Farm in Warden
  • Jenn Bunger’s family-run farm in Pasco


McDonald’s coffee, especially the specialty items available in McCafes, The Gaviña Gourmet Coffee Story, is one full of family values and triumph. Plus, a real dedication to sustainability, innovation, and fair trade with the 50 countries that supply the coffee beans ready for roasting.


For 14 years, Dirk Giannini’ has supplied McDonald’s with quality lettuce for salads and burgers, grown at his farm in Salinas Valley.

Dairy for McDonald’s Softserve

  • Milking R Dairy, Florida
  • Hildebrandt Farms, Wisconsin

Both are great examples of family-run milking businesses that are in partnership with McDonald’s. They supply their local stores with milk for their soft-serve cones and sundaes. This is a great example of local produce staying local.


The Bering Sea is one of the best places to catch wild Alaskan Pollock. Kenny Longaker and his boat, the Defender, battle the high seas out from Dutch Harbour, Alaska, to catch some of the wild Alaskan Pollock used in McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches.


Apples began to feature in McDonald’s Happy Meals in April 2004. It took a little while for the concept to take, but a few years in, they were in high demand. Leo Dietrich & Sons have supplied McDonald’s with juicy apples since the 2010s.

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Ok, back to today’s McDonald’s facts

Final Thoughts

So, I hope I’ve fully answered the question of who supplies McDonald’s with meat.

In short, McDonald’s gets their meat from two main suppliers in North America, Lopez Foods and Keystone Farms. They are dedicated suppliers who both go above and beyond the USDA regulations in the food industry.

They also work incredibly hard to produce 100% beef patties for McDonald’s world-class hamburgers. Keystones are paramount in the revolution of perfectly frozen meat patties and all-in-one supply drops.

Enjoy your burgers!

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