African swine fever (ASF) is affecting the global fast-food chain’s pork supply, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said on Wednesday.
“African swine fever hurts us a little on the pork,” Easterbrook said in an interview with CNBC. “That limits the movements of pork and pushes it up here in the U.S.”
McDonald’s uses pork products in its breakfast items, such as the bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and the sausage burrito. The company is also bringing back its cheesy bacon fries this summer for a limited time as part of its Worldwide Favorites menu.
“We’ve got a well-established supply chain and hedge wherever we possibly can and minimize the impact of these things, but the reality is we’re subject to the same kind of pressures on this as everyone else,” Easterbrook said.
The fast-food chain is forecasting that U.S. commodity costs will increase by 2% to 3% in 2019, up from a previous range of 1% to 2%.
Despite ASF pushing up the price of pork, McDonald’s is waiting to add any plant-based meat substitutes to its menu. Easterbrook said the company is trying to see if a vegan burger will drive traffic to its stores.
According to CNBC, McDonald’s shares were recently down less than 1% in trading Wednesday. The stock hit an all-time high of $201.15 last week, and shares have gained 22% over the past year.
ASF is a highly transmissible, deadly disease that affects pigs only. It is not a disease of people and pork poses no food safety risk.
For more information on ASF prevention and spread, visit porkbusiness.com/ASF.
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