Though Sales Decline, McCain Foods Posts Profit in UK

Pre-tax profits for McCain Foods (GB) Ltd rose from £54.7 million to £63.7 million during fiscal year 2015, reported the Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK-headquartered producer of frozen french fries (chips) and other potato specialties ranging from wedges and croquettes to Smiles and Has Browns. Turnover, however, fell by approximately 10% to £440 million during the same period.

The downturn in sales value was attributed to a “sluggish” start to the year combined with competitive pressure from continental producers benefiting from a weak euro and cheap potatoes.

McCain GB chipsIn annual documents recently filed with Cardiff-based Companies House, an agency of the UK Government, McCain Foods stated: “As brand leader, the company believes it can continue to stimulate growth through innovation, quality and service. The directors are satisfied with the financial position of the company at the end of the year.”

The family-owned business, a unit of the Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada-headquartered McCain Foods Group, operates four factories in Britain and owns a potato seed business in Montrose, Scotland. It employs more than 1,700 people in the United Kingdom, and ranks as the largest purchaser of British potatoes, working closely with over 300 UK growers and buying approximately 15% of the annual crop.

McCain Foods has been producing frozen potato products in the UK since 1969. Its first sale in that market, however, took place a decade earlier. Interestingly, it was not french fries, but rather 50 tons of frozen peas exported from Canada to Smedley’s. Today the company has 41 production facilities across six continents, employing over 17,000 people around the world who make a diversified line of products ranging from value-added potato specialties and vegetable mixes to pizza, snacks, ready meals, desserts and more.