Canadian frozen potato products giant McCain Foods has suspended plans to expand a US plant because of a drop-off in demand from the foodservice channel during the coronavirus crisis.

The French fries heavyweight announced a year ago it planned to spend around US$300m expanding its processing plant in Othello, Washington but has put plans on the back burner as most foodservice outlets have been closed in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus.

In a statement sent to just-food, Dale McCarthy, VP for integrated supply chain at McCain’s operations in North America, said: “We have made the decision to pause the Othello expansion project, announced last year.  

“As you are aware, governments have requested that all non-essential work be stopped while we are in this critical phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Also social distancing measures are impacting out of home consumption, and subsequently foodservice customer demand for our products. Once social distancing measures are lifted and the out of home market recovers, we will review restarting the expansion.” 

The expansion was to add another 170,000 sq ft to the existing plant and include a battered and conventional French fry processing line. The project was expected to create an additional 80 jobs.

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By GlobalData