Today started off with a light breakfast and then we packed our growing luggage on the bus and headed off to the McDonalds Food Town. We were not allowed to take any pictures of the inside, but you can trust us when we say it was pretty awesome. After stepping off the bus, we were met by several OSI professionals, including Juergen Moembacher, who gave us a brief overview of OSI and let us take a peak at the chicken nugget and patty manufacturing machine that operates for McDonalds restaurants.

Some of the information we had learned with out OSI presentation back in the states, but what we loved seeing was the photos Mr. Moembacher showed during his presentation. There was a 1909 photo of the Chicago meat cart that started it all as well as the first McDonalds OSI supplied in 1955. Something new we also learned was the fact that one line in the  nugget production process can produce roughly 5.2 million nuggets, a day! Even we couldn't eat that many. Many of us were excited to hear about the animal welfare programs and recycling of oils as it pertained to our research.

Our next stop on our McDonald's Food Town tour was at Fresh Start Bakery (FSB). Since 2010, FSB has been part of an organization called Aryzta, which is based in Zurich, Switzerland. The first Fresh Start Bakery opened in the 1960s in Southern California to service a local McDonald's. Currently, FSB has 22 bakeries located all over the world. We visited the bakery in Duisburg, Germany. This bakery started in 1988 with one bun line and now has three lines with 150 employees, 20-30 of whom are in the office. The employees work in three shifts, allowing the bakery to operate seven days a week. This particular bakery produces 2,000,000 buns per day on their two bun lines and 400,000 English Muffins per day on their single muffin line. The extreme efficiency of the facility is what has made it the top producing Fresh Start Bakery in Europe. Much to our pleasure, we were given a tour of the bakery, seeing each step of bun production from flour to bun packaging. Our class was split into two groups, so as soon as we finished our tour, we went back into a conference room and were given a formal presentation about the company.

It made sense to us when we were told that a facility like this has to comply with strict food safety regulations, and thus has to be completely compliant with food inspectors showing up unexpectedly and examining all aspects of its operation. However, it still seems that it would be very nerve-racking for management knowing that at any point they could face major consequences if they fail to follow protocol on any given day.

After we all got back from the exciting tour explaining the detailed production of chicken nuggets, a product development professional, Alexandra, introduced us to the secret of high quality products OSI produces. We have never imagined how many details are necessary for the classification of a perfect nugget. From perfect shape, color, and texture to small details such as the unwanted air pocket between the breading and the meat, there are multiple guidelines that the nugget needs to be evaluated on in order to determine its quality. We were honored to explore McDonaldís evaluation system used to classify productís diversion from the ìGolden Standardî, which is a desired ìperfect nuggetî. As we learned, McDonalds continuously trains individuals who perform quality checks based on taste and appearance of the product. It is easily visible that OSI truly believes in producing only the best quality products. After a very informative and engaging presentation, a delicious smell of fresh nuggets filled the room. We were able to taste the scrumptious nuggets, which we all evaluated to its highest standards. We were not only lucky to eat fresh nuggets, but also we were offered tasty lunch with multiple kinds of appetizing sandwiches and more than enough sauce options for another batche of amazing nuggets. We would like to thank OSI for its generosity; we have eaten enough for a week. As we enjoyed the delicious lunch we were kindly given, we talked about all the interesting facts we have learned about OSI and eagerly waited for the next part of our adventure- Fresh Start Bakeries.

We concluded our day with a tour and overview of the logistics function at Havi. Peter, our informative and knowledgeable tour guide, explained the basics of Havi's role between OSI, FSB, and McDonalds. In addition to explaining the intercompany relationship, he took us on a tour of the various storage warehouses for the products. During the tour, each of us wore earphones in order to hear the presentation with limited background interference. It was so much better than having to hear over the roar of the massive machines. The first warehouse area housed recycled bottles that would be used for another product. The second and third were refrigerated areas for produce, while the fourth was a freezer for meat goods. It was so cold, we were glad it was a quick run through, -22 degrees Celsius! After leaving the warehouse facility, we returned to the meeting room to receive very generous gift bags containing hats, pins, lanyards and a booklet with more information on sustainability at OSI.  

After OSI we loaded the bus and headed 4 hours north to Einbeck, Germany where we were hosted to a delicious dinner of white asparagus and schnitzel by Ruediger Strom of KWS seeds. After a long day of activities we all where exhausted but well fed!

Europe Dinner Thumbnail Image
Blog Writer
Theresa Miller, Visiting Academic Advisor and Marketing Coordinator