McCain Foods is investing CAD600m (US$438.5m) to add two production lines at one of its plants in Canada complete with sustainability initiatives.
The project at the Coaldale site in Alberta will double the facility’s production capacity and create 260 jobs when completed. Work is set to start “later” this year, the frozen potato products supplier said.
“The development in Alberta marks our largest global investment in our 65-year history,” Max Koeune, president and CEO of the privately-owned company, said. “This will fuel continued growth for the business, allowing us to serve key markets further by bringing customers high-quality potatoes that begin with our dedicated local farming community.”
McCain Foods, headquartered in Toronto, is fitting wind turbines and solar panels as part of the project to supply 100% renewable energy to the site. A water recycling system will also be added to “produce clean potable water” for the manufacturing process.
To offset the natural gas requirement, “renewable biogas generated at the wastewater treatment facility will be maximised and transported to the steam boilers”, McCain Foods explained.
The company has operated the Coaldale facility since 2000 and it employs 225 people. A spokesperson for McCain Foods confirmed the two new lines will produce french fries and “specialty” potato products for the North American market but declined to offer more details on the output.
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A “minority of future production” will be for Asia and Latin America, the spokesperson told Just Food.
In the year to 30 June, McCain Foods reduced its scope 1 and 2 carbon-dioxide emissions by 6% and increased the use of renewable electricity to account for almost 20% of its total usage, the company said in its latest sustainability report.
By 2030, McCain Foods has set a target to cut the use of carbon dioxide per tonne from potato farming by 25% and to improve water-use efficiency by 15% in “water-stressed regions” by 2025.
It is also seeking a 50% absolute reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030, along with a target to use 100% renewable electricity and to complete the move away from coal. Under the same threshold, the business aims to lower scope 3 emissions by 30%.
Palm oil will also be cut from McCain Foods’ frying operations by 2025.