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August 12, 2020

McCain Foods moves to support UK potato farmers

McCain Foods, the Canada-based potato-products group, has stepped in to try to support farmers in a market hit by volatile weather and now, due to Covid-19, uncertain demand.

By Dean Best

McCain Foods, the Canada-based potato-products group, has stepped in to try to support UK farmers, hit in recent years by volatile weather and now, due to Covid-19, uncertain demand.

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The privately-owned group, which reportedly buys around 15% of the UK’s annual potato crop, is to spend GBP25m over the next five years on measures including grants for farmers to invest in harvesting capacity.

Some 40% of the funds will be put forward this year. McCain said the closure of foodservice outlets under the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown measures had led to “a backlog of potatoes that cannot be used”.

Daniel Metheringham, director of agriculture within McCain’s operations in the UK and Ireland, said: “The last two years have seen two of the worst potato crops in the last 40 years and this paired with the impact of Covid-19 has left our growers with a number of challenges including bad crops and surplus potatoes. McCain growers saw an average 18% reduction in yield in 2018 and 16% of our 2019 storage crop was still left in field. This pledge is about doing all we can to help our growers.”

McCain has also set up a three- to five-year “loyalty scheme rewarding farmers who continue to grow”. The french fry major will also look to “optimise” its contracts by, for example, “improving prices on early season varieties so farmers get fair prices”.

Asked by just-food what internal factors at McCain prompted the launch of the pledge, Metheringham said: “Potatoes are at the heart of what we do and our farmers are crucial to that, they are a natural extension of our business and we wouldn’t be McCain without them, some of whom we’ve had relationships with for three generations. We’ve seen first-hand the impact of the last two years in which potato farmers experienced the worst potato crops in the last 40 years due to exceptional weather conditions. This resulted in our farmers seeing an average 18% reduction in yield in 2018 and in 2019, 16% of our crop remained in the ground. The impact of climatic changes is only set to continue and we wanted to ensure we were taking proactive steps to support our loyal farmers which is why the pledge was created.”

Related Companies

Free Whitepaper
img

What is the impact of historically high inflation on the UK consumer landscape?

The average UK consumer is experiencing a severe cost-of living crisis as inflation surges to a forty-year high and the price of goods continues to rise. This shock is the result of the sharply increasing costs of commodities, energy, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and is threatening FMCG manufacturers, retailers, and foodservice operators’ ability to survive and grow. Inflation will have a profound effect on many consumer-facing industries in 2022 and beyond. Consult GlobalData’s new whitepaper, Inflation in the UK: The Impact of Historically High Inflation on the UK Consumer Landscape, to better understand shifts in consumer behavior and their impact on spending patterns, as well as the implications for UK businesses. This whitepaper covers:  
  • Why has global inflation returned with a vengeance?
  • What is the current inflation situation in the UK?
  • What impact is inflation having on UK retail sales?
  • What tactics are businesses relying on to tackle the effects of high inflation?
  • How are consumers changing their behaviors to cope with the higher cost of living?
  • Which industry sectors are most vulnerable to reduced consumer demand?
  • How is the government responding to high inflation?
  • How long will high inflation last in the UK?
  • How can your company survive and thrive in a high inflation environment?
Enter your details here to receive your free whitepaper and ready your business for these increasingly uncertain times.
by GD50 Custom
Enter your details here to receive your free Whitepaper.

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