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Industry criticises plans for McDonald's to be sole Olympics food brand

11 August 2009 by
Industry criticises plans for McDonald's to be sole Olympics food brand

Restaurateurs have criticised McDonald's likely status as the sole branded food outlet visible at the 2012 London Olympics, insisting the US fast food chain does not represent British values.

McDonald's, one of the main sponsors of the games, is in talks with organisers to become the exclusive food brand at the Games, much like Coca-Cola which has exclusive rights to sell non-alcoholic drinks at Olympic venues.

Under the proposed deal, other food operators would only be able to sell their products in some Olympic sites if they removed labels or changed packaging. Restaurants and cafés present at existing sites would have to make way for official sponsors during the event.

Restaurant operators have criticised the potential move, arguing that food served at the London Olympics should reflect regional produce and the capital's ethnic diversity.

Iqbal Wahaab, founder of British restaurant group Roast and a government advisor on race and employment, told Caterersearch that exclusive McDonald's branding would be a "massive missed opportunity".

"People will be coming from all over the world for the Games and for Britain's culinary representation to be made exclusively by McDonald's would be a massive missed opportunity on many fronts," he said.

Mark Selby, managing director of Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca, added that the Olympics would be better represented by restaurants with a healthier reputation.

"McDonald's obviously has the money power to support the Olympics but it's a shame that smaller local restaurants with healthier freshly-prepared food shouldn't be included, especially when the emphasis of the event is on keeping fit and healthy."

A spokesman for McDonald's defended the move: "In previous Games we have been the branded food retailer but there have been other ‘unbranded' products on sale. However, no final decisions have been made for London 2012 yet."

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By Emma White

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