McDonald’s is to champion British and Irish farming with a virtual reality show across the UK. The fast food giant has loaded up a truck with the latest in virtual reality technology and will invite the public to climb on board for a look at its growers and producers, without having to set foot on a farm.

McDonald’s, whose campaigns for some years have focussed on its links with local farming, said the latest drive was part of Farm Forward, its long-term programme to address the challenges facing the sector. Figures from the Food and Drink Federation suggested the industry needed 109,000 new recruits by 2022 as the UK population is projected to rise by 4.4 million in the next decade.

McDonald’s said it used technology developers, young farmers and food experts to create the show, which it hopes will reach up to one million people at farming shows and other events across the UK over the next year.

A YouGov poll of 2,000 consumers for the chain found 74% want to know more about where their food comes from, but one in five cannot explain any process behind food production.

Two in five (41%) have never set foot on a working farm and 83% have never received careers advice about the food and farming sector, while 60% have never considered working in the sector.

The roadshow follows food production from provenance through to preparation and cooking in McDonald’s restaurants.

McDonald’s UK director of supply chain Connor McVeigh said: “By bringing together tech developers with farmers and food experts, we have created an immersive virtual reality experience that will allow people to follow in the footsteps of farmers, suppliers and our crew, bringing the best of UK food production from the countryside to communities across the UK.

“Our hope is that it will help build pride in British and Irish farming, challenge outdated stereotypes and celebrate the best of food and farming in the UK today.”

Environment Secretary Liz Truss said: “As a nation we are now far more plugged into where our food comes from. Projects like this that link field to fork, or in this case fingers, not only supports our farmers but educates our children too.

“With 3.8 million people employed in the food chain it is vital for our economic future that we make British food and farming all it can be. By embracing the latest technology we will foster the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

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