The global potato grower and frozen chip manufacturer highlights latest strides in fulfilling sustainable farming commitments
The world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products, McCain Foods, has today published details of the progress it is making towards sustainable farming committments around the globe.
In its annual sustainability report, published today (24 January), the Canadian firm, which grows potatoes around the world, announced that 51 per cent of its global acreage has adopted regenerative farming practices.
The firm said it is well on its way to achieving its goal of implementing regenerative agriculture practices across 100 per cent of the global acreage that grows potatoes for McCain products by the end of the decade.
Max Koeune, president and CEO of McCain Foods, said: “As one of the most vulnerable sectors impacted by climate change, the food system is one of the most important levers to help drive a sustainable and resilient future. That is why sustainability is at the heart of our purpose as a business. We are pleased to share an update on how we are making strides towards our goals in key areas that will ensure we have resource efficient operations, are farming in a smart and sustainable way and are contributing to building thriving communities in the areas that we operate, all while we continue to produce good food.”
McCain said it is accelerating the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices through its direct relationships with farmers – a network of 3,500 partners around the world. It is providing technical and educational assistance, and developing financing solutions to offset costs associated with making changes in farming practices and adopting new technologies.
By trialling, testing, and learning from the outcomes of implementing regenerative agriculture practices, McCain said it has supported farmers to become more resilient and competitive for the long term.
In its 2023 Global Sustainability Report, McCain highlights results across four key pillars:
Smart and Sustainable Farming
In addition to progressing on commitments towards regenerative agriculture, McCain has completed its first season at Farm of the Future Africa and third season at Farm of the Future Canada, improved water-use efficiency in water-stressed regions by 9.4 per cent, delivered more than 23,500 hours of training to farmers and has achieved its goal to ensure 21.9 per cent of the potatoes grown for McCain are water stress-tolerant varieties.
More than 21 per cent of the electrical energy used by McCain was from renewable sources and absolute carbon emissions (Scope 1 and 2) reduced by 9.8 per cent from 2017. McCain has also achieved a 16.3 per cent improvement in water-use efficiency in priority plants. Additionally, 98.5 per cent of McCain’s paper packaging and 87.8 per cent of its plastic packaging are designed for recycling.
McCain launched new global policies for clean ingredients and nutrition, while maintaining 100 per cent Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification at all McCain owned facilities — and 96 per cent GFSI certification of all Tier 1 ingredient supplier facilities. Sodium was reduced by 6.6 per cent in McCain branded appetizer products, and the company has continued to remove artificial ingredients from key products.
In 2023, McCain employees provided more than 17,000 volunteer hours through the McCain Chips In initiative, reached 2,716 new beneficiaries with development programs and partnerships and donated the equivalent of 11.9 million meals.
“While we are proud of how far we have progressed towards our goals, we recognize there is more to be done,” said Koeune. “But we know this is not something we can do alone. Partnership and knowledge are crucial to move forward. We will continue to look to stakeholders – from our farmers, to government, to financial institutions, NGOs, suppliers, customers and other players in the food system – to collaborate on this journey towards planet-friendly food.
McCain Foods Limited is a family-owned business founded in 1957 in Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada. Today, the company is the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products and a global leader in prepared appetizers and snacks. Its products can be found in restaurants and retail stores in more than 160 countries around the world. The company has major production, retail and corporate operations around the world, employs approximately 22,000 people, operates 51 production facilities on six continents, partners with 3,500 farmers and generates annual sales in excess of $14 billion CAD.