For a small town, population just over 7000, Waitara can lay claim to mind-boggling numbers when it comes to producing beef patties.
Every day as many as 770,000 - destined for iconic McDonald's burgers like the Big Mac - can roll off the production line in the town's Anzco Foods plant, a number equivalent to more than 100 for every man, woman and child living in the Taranaki town.
But when it comes to the factory's storage capability, the numbers are even more staggering. Up to 7.5 million patties - over 1000 for every one of the town's residents - are able to be held in freezers awaiting distribution.
The patties, made from quality Kiwi beef, are part of the story of how ingredients for the Big Mac burger, which is served up at nearly 200 McDonald's restaurants in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, are sourced locally.
Every year, McDonald's uses food and ingredients worth $156.9m sourced from New Zealand suppliers for its Big Mac and other burgers. Simon Kenny, McDonald's New Zealand Head of Communications, says every year the company uses 6500 tonnes of beef, 861 tonnes of lettuce, 1536 tonnes of cheese and other dairy products, 95 million buns and an average of 225 tonnes of brown and red onions.
While these numbers may be daunting, what is just as amazing is how few people it takes, for example, to produce the millions of beef patties: "We have about 50 people working here," says the Anzco site plant manager Jacques Jordaan. "They work a day shift only, doing around nine hours Monday to Friday producing the different sizes of patties used by McDonald's."
The plant pushes through 30 batches of patties every day (each batch takes about 45 minutes) and from each one a sample is taken and tested for quality. They are then snap-frozen in a freeze tunnel at -18 degrees and stored in freezers at -20 degrees before being transported to the restaurants.
"We average about 600,000 a day but we can get up to 770,000," Jordaan says. "All up we do about 2.5m patties each week and can store up to 7.5m."
Every year over 6000 tonnes of locally sourced beef (including 654 tonnes of Angus beef) is used in making the patties from farms throughout New Zealand. At Anzco the meat is simply minced, formed and frozen and requires no additives or fillers.
Kenny says the supply of beef sourced from farms like Whangara Farms in Gisborne and others from Taranaki and Waikato is a good example of how the company is supporting local farmers, growers and bakers.
"Almost every ingredient we use is sourced, supplied or manufactured locally," he says. "We choose to work with the best in their fields so we can deliver quality food for Kiwis. These partnerships are long-standing and we have high expectations for how they operate."
One supplier of lettuce is Sutherland Farms at Bombay south of Auckland. After harvesting the lettuces are inspected, immediately chilled and sent to food supplier GSF Fresh where the produce is quality checked for a second time, washed, cut, packed and transported to the McDonald's distribution centre.
Kenny says the lettuce can be delivered to restaurants within 48 hours of being picked.
More than 1.5m kg of cheese is needed each year. It is made from milk sourced from Fonterra which uses 15m litres to meet this demand. Processed at Fonterra's specialty cheese manufacturing site in Eltham, Taranaki, it takes two weeks to complete the 100 quality checks before going out to restaurants.
Kenny says the onions are supplied through GSF Fresh and are grown on 380 acres of land in Pukekohe and Matamata.
"The 100m buns, bagels and muffins Kiwis eat at Macca's every year are baked at Aryzta Bakery in Wairau Valley on Auckland's North Shore," he says. "They have been supplying us for 20 years and each week they produce about 1.9m."
For more information go to: mcdonalds.co.nz/whats-in-it