With the sale of its frozen food operations to McCain, a leading Canadian frozen food company, and its snack food operations to Frito Lay, Colombia's Margarita food processing group went out of existence this year. The purchase makes McCain the leading producer of frozen food products in Colombia and allows it to supply other Andes Community nations with frozen potatoes and manioc.

McCain got a start in the region in 1996 when it purchased the potato plant of Mekato, located in Sabaneta, Antioquia. This purchase led to the creation of McCain Andina, which serves as the company's base of operations in South America. The purchase of the frozen food segment of the Margarita group (Congelagro) this year for roughly US$40m, positions McCain as the leading producer of frozen foods in Colombia. Congelagro's processing facility is considered to be among the most advanced of its kind in the world.

Over the next couple of years, McCain plans to consolidate its market presence in Ecuador and Venezuela. The next stage will be to expand sales to Europe, Japan, and the US, where Congelagro had already established a market presence.

By Steve Lewis