$10 Million Upgrade for McCain Potato Plant in Tasmania

McCain Foods will invest $10 million to bolster potato storage capability and improve production efficiencies at its Smithton processing plant in Circular Head, Tasmania, Australia. The two-year project will include an estimated $7.9 million expenditure for a 55,000-ton storage operation that will enable the housing of virtually all tuber raw material on the premises, plus $1.6 million for a new packing line for frozen french fries and other value-added potato products.

“By gaining some efficiencies and taking some costs out of the operation, it allows us to better compete and hopefully drives some increased volume,” said John Jackson, the company’s agriculture director for Australia and New Zealand.

Tasmania-McCain-potato

The investment, welcomed by Tasmanian potato farmers, was announced approximately six years after McCain Foods shuttered its vegetable processing factory at Smithton.

“While this added investment will increase the plant’s capability and efficiencies, we still have a number of challenges before us in maintaining the competitiveness of the plant to ensure its long-term survival,” said Jackson. “One of the challenges in such a competitive market is maintaining and increasing efficiencies to drive cost-reduction. Even in northern Tasmania, we have to realize that we are competing in a global commodities market.

Pizza Toasties Popping
Cheese-Tomato-ToastiesMeanwhile, the rollout of McCain Pizza Toasties in Australia has gone according to plan. Launched in April, the new range was supported with an integrated marketing campaign that ran through June 21 at major shopping centers in Queensland and New South Wales.

Available nationwide in the frozen food aisles of Coles, Woolworths and Metcash stores are three initial flavors: Cheese & Tomato, Ham & Cheese, and BBQ Beef. The 400-gram four-packs are offered at a suggested retail price of $7.49.

“McCain Pizza Toasties are a great tasting, quick and convenient snacking option that can easily be prepared – it is pizza as easy as toast,” said Mike O’Brien, marketing director.