LONDON 2012: One in five Olympic meals will be a McDonald’s

ONE in five food purchases at the London 2012 Olympics will be a McDonalds, it has been claimed.

BRAND LEADER: McDonalds open their first restaurant in Beijing in 1992 but by the 2008 Olympics the iconic Golden Arches were everywhere (Getty Images)

The fast food giant will have restaurants across all venues, including the Olympic Park and athletes village, despite criticism of their sponsorship from health and environmental campaigners.

“In our main restaurant at Olympic Park, every hour will be three times as busy as our current busiest outlet in the UK,” said UK vice-president Steve Easterbrook, in remarks to the Sport Industry Breakfast Club.

“Around 14 million meals will be sold, of which a McDonald’s meal will be one in five.”

London 2012 have set stiff targets to ensure all ingredients used in Olympic catering operations are local, seasonal or ethically sourced.

However, some of their planning has been criticised as not going far enough by pressure groups, including London Food.

McDonald’s have a long involvement with the International Olympic Committee and were one of the first supporters of their TOP worldwide sponsorship programme.

In a marketplace crowded with official brands, all trying to leverage their multi-million pound rights, they have already proven incredibly successful – and along with Visa and Coke boast high recognition for their Olympic sponsorship.

But Easterbrook admits many will still use the Games to attempt ambush marketing strategies.

In Beijing, 26 percent of those polled in a US survey said McDonald’s restaurant rival Subway was associated with the Games.

Nearly half of respondents saw their ad with swimmer Michael Phelps, who went on to win eight swimming gold medals, and 79 percent of those wrongly believed Subway supported the U.S. Olympic team.

“We will protect our rights, I can assure you of that,” said Easterbrook.

“However, it’s going to be a mess. People are not going to remember who is meant to be doing what. We what are going to do is just run good restaurants and play our part in hosting a great Games.”

McDonalds is also playing a part as the official partner of the London 2012 volunteering programme, which launched earlier this week.