New Haith-installed system at Montrose will sort and grade seed potatoes

Frozen potato giant McCain is investing £2.5 million in its site in Montrose, Scotland, to install a new optical sorting seed potato grading system.

The site is responsible for supplying around 30,000 tonnes of seed potatoes every year to McCain’s ware growers in England, who then supply the processing crop to the McCain Foods factories. The integrated supply chain “ensures McCain have high-quality raw material for their products and extensive traceability from seed”, the company said.

The installation will be managed by vegetable handling machinery specialist Haith, and will be ready in time to help the company’s 2022/2023 grading and delivery season. The new line also features Haith’s Queen’s Award for Innovation-winning Rota-Tip box tippler.

James Young, VP agriculture at McCain, said: “The investment into an optical grading line at our Montrose site marks the beginning of an exciting journey. Optical grading technology has developed over recent years and, thanks to our partnership with Haith, we believe we’ve created a new and improved line that will benefit both us and our growers.

“Thanks to the new technology, we will minimise the damage caused in the grading process, be able to accurately size our potatoes and remove foreign materials and potato defects more easily. It will also create a more streamlined and operator-friendly work environment.

“With a grading line only being replaced every 15-20 years, we are delighted to be moving forwards with an optical line, embracing technology to help drive benefit across our supply chain and ensuring our business is future fit.”