McCain: Canadian relies on France to make ‘greener’ fries

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The leading company in the field of frozen chips in France is carrying out a gigantic investment program in its three production plants as part of the Choose France summit, which will bring together almost 180 business leaders this Monday, May 13, at the Château de Versailles in the presence of Emmanuel Macron. The goal: to increase its production to satisfy the appetite of the French.

Did you know ? McCain fries are one of the three French fries that the French eat. This shows the success of this Canadian brand, which has been present in France for 40 years. “France is our leading European market in terms of sales and is in our top 10 best countries in the world“, entrusted Capital the president and CEO of McCain, Max Koeune, exceptionally present for a few days in May in France. McCain, the leader in frozen potatoes in France with a 27% market share by volume in mass distribution in 2024, it is not surprising that the family group, which in 2023 will have a worldwide turnover of 11 billion euros, has decided to invest in this territory , which is full of potential.

It is as part of the Choose France summit, which is being held this Monday, May 13, at the Palace of Versailles in the presence of the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, that McCain is announcing his investment plan. This meeting dedicated to the attractiveness of France is aimed at promoting foreign investment. During the 2023 edition, nearly 200 business leaders announced investments of €13 billion.

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And when the Canadian group decides to commit budgetary resources, it doesn’t do so by half measures. “We are implementing an investment plan of 350 million euros over five years“, continues Max Koeune proudly. This will concern the three McCain plants installed in France: 300 million euros are allocated to the Harnes plant (Pas-de-Calais), of which 150 million will be used from summer 2024. The remaining 50 million euros will be dedicated to Bethunes (Pas-de-Calais ) and Matougues (Marne) in 2026-2027. This envelope is a continuation of the 125 million euros that the group has already invested in its French branches since 2016.

Produce 100,000 tons more

Her goals? Increase its production, strengthen its competitiveness and support innovation. In this context, new production lines will be installed at the Harnes and Béthune sites. “Our factories are already running at full capacity. Thanks to this investment, we have a production capacity of 100,000 tons, in addition to the 600,000 tons produced annually at these three sites.“, says the president of the company.

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As of 2021, McCain has broadened his reach by focusing more on snacking to increase opportunities for potato consumption. Among other things, it launched a range of Pickers aperitifs based on vegetables and cheese, new formats of fries as part of the Signature collection and expanded the recipes of the Street Fries range (a complete meal based on fries). A winning bet, because despite the inflationary crisis, sales of McCain products in France in February 2024 grew by 5.1% over the last 12 months.

Focus on regenerative agriculture

Another advantage of this investment: limiting the impact of production on the environment. McCain will focus on circulation to recover and reuse steam and water in various production cycles, reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 compared to 2017, use 100% renewable electricity by 2023 and no longer use coal by 2025 …”Our site will be at the forefront of these investments“, insists Max Koeune.

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If many brands are accused of greenwashing to seize the topic of sustainable development for opportunistic purposes, McCain’s involvement in these topics is nothing new. Since 2018, the group has committed itself to regenerative agriculture with its producers. The principle is simple: regenerate the soil by crop rotation, increase fertility, support biodiversity, use natural fertilizers and fertilizers…”Agricultural crisis meet repeatedly, so it is up to us to find a solution», Indicates the head of the group. To date, 15% of McCain’s 800 French producers follow this practice. The group hopes to take over 20% in 2024 and 100% in 2030.

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McCain, Lidl, Picard… which frozen fries are the healthiest?

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