Great products start with great ingredients so the Agriculture Team is at the heart of everything we do at McCain.
As well as being the UK’s largest purchaser of British potatoes, buying approximately 15% of the annual potato crop, we own a potato seed business in Montrose and work in partnership with more than 300 UK growers to ensure the very best potatoes are harvested. There is plenty to keep the McCain Agriculture Team busy, but with potato farming, it’s more a way of life than a job.
Ian Pennock, McCain Fieldsman for the North, explains: “I really don’t see it like you might a traditional job. I’ve grown up in this environment, around farming life and farming people, so it’s engrained. You need to have that level of understanding and passion as we work very closely with the growers. I get involved in all areas of the supply chain, right from planning the varieties, to storage and delivery. Being able to trust each other, share knowledge and find solutions together is an essential part of maximising on farm output and building successful long-term, sustainable partnerships.”
Daniel Metheringham, Head of Agriculture for McCain, adds: “Working in partnership with our growers is a diverse role and one that I love. The key to being successful is in taking a longer term view so we can plan ahead. This gives growers the security and opportunity to invest in their farm and prepare fields effectively, which means that we both benefit by maximising crop quality and output. Then we just need to give the potatoes plenty of attention – they’re much more difficult to grow well than you might imagine! Our growers are highly specialised, growing specific varieties, with very specific qualities to suit the needs of our different products. The better the potato the better the end product.
“To ensure the very best of the potato crop goes into factories we work with the growers across the growing and storage season, with day to day on-farm support and constant monitoring of quality. We also provide access to world leading experts and have regional Grower Groups, which enable us to share knowledge with each other, as well as potentially consolidating equipment or haulage costs. An incredible amount of detail goes into what we do.
“Our potatoes and our products wouldn’t be what they are without our growing partners and Agriculture Team. And it’s their hard work that ensures our products help our customers to stand out, whatever the season, and whatever the weather.”