When Michael McCain stepped into the Maple Leaf boardroom in the late 1990s after his family took a controlling stake in the Canadian food group it seems unlikely that he could have been aware of the challenges that lay ahead. The company, which is in the midst of a major overhaul to address the structural shortcomings of its meat and bakery business, is struggling to tread water in the current climate of high costs and declining consumer spending. And while McCain remains upbeat on the Maple Leaf's long-term outlook some industry watchers are less optimistic, Dean Best reports.