Grower partnerships and regenerative practices highlighted

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24 January 2024
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McCain Foods releases 2023 Global Sustainability Report.

FRENCH fries producer McCain Foods has released its annual Global Sustainability Report which includes a detailed month-by month look into life on a sustainable farm and highlights how it is supporting growers in Africa and Canada. 

The report states that McCain is well on the way to achieving its milestone of implementing regenerative agriculture practices across 100% of the global acreage that grows potatoes for McCain products by the end of the decade.
 
The manufacturer has completed its first season at its Farm of the Future Africa and third season at Farm of the Future Canada, improving water-use efficiency in water-stressed regions by 9.4%, delivering more than 23,500 hours of training to farmers and reaching its target of having 21.9% of the potatoes grown for McCain being water stress-tolerant varieties. 

McCain currently partners with 3,500 growers around the world and seeks to provide technical and educational assistance, as well as developing financing solutions to offset costs associated with making changes in growing practices and adopting new technologies. 

The report details a typical year in the regenerative agriculture cycle at Farm of the Future Canada which parallels learnings with those in the Southern hemisphere at Farm of the Future Africa, trialing, testing, and learning from the outcomes of implementing regenerative agriculture practices.

Last year the company also launched new global policies for clean ingredients and nutrition. In addition, McCain employees have provided more than 17,000 volunteer hours through the 'McCain Chips In' initiative, reaching 2,716 new beneficiaries with development programs and partnerships and donated the equivalent of 11.9 million meals. 
 
President and CEO of McCain Foods, Max Koeune, said: “While we are proud of how far we have progressed towards our goals, we recognize there is more to be done,” says Mr. Koeune. “But we know this is not something we can do alone. Partnership and knowledge are crucial to move forward. We will continue to look to stakeholders – from our farmers, to government, to financial institutions, NGOs, suppliers, customers and other players in the food system – to collaborate on this journey towards planet-friendly food." 

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In addition to its direct work with growers, the report highlights how McCain has adapted its own operations to become more resource efficient  and the policies it has adopted towards clean ingredients and nutrition.

More than 21% of the electrical energy used by McCain was from renewable sources and absolute carbon emissions reduced by 9.8% from 2017, the report states, while the manufacturer has also achieved a 16.3% improvement in water-use efficiency in priority plants. Additionally, 98.5% of McCain’s paper packaging and 87.8% of its plastic packaging are designed for recycling. 

It highlights the manufacturer's 100% Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification at all McCain-owned facilities and 96% GFSI certification of all Tier 1 ingredient supplier facilities. The report also states that sodium was reduced by 6.6% in McCain-branded appetiser products and the company has continued to remove artificial ingredients from key products. 

Max Koeune said: “As one of the most vulnerable sectors impacted by climate change, the food system is one of the most important levers to help drive a sustainable and resilient future.” 

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