​​McCain Foods Limited was founded in 1957 by brothers, Harrison and Wallace McCain, with the production facility opening in their hometown of Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada. Since its humble beginnings, McCain Foods has become one of the world's largest manufacturers of frozen French fries and potato specialties.

The business has grown significantly over the years, from 30 employees and global sales of CDN$150,000, to now employing more than 17,000 people with global sales of CDN$7 billion.

We operate across six continents with 41 sites, working with 3,200 farmers and use 6.5 million tonnes of potatoes every year.

McCain products can be found in thousands of restaurants and supermarket freezers in more than 160 countries - one in every three French fries in the world is a McCain fry. In addition to fries, McCain also produces other foods, including pizza, appetizers, oven meals and vegetables for both the retail and foodservice industries.

THE McCAIN FAMILY

Founders of McCain Foods, Harrison and Wallace McCain were the sons of Andrew McCain, known as A.D. - a third generation farmer who turned to potato and seed exporting in the early 1900s. It was A.D. who founded McCain Produce, a seed production business that we still work with today.

After A.D. passed away in 1953, McCain Produce was run by his widow and mother of their six children, Laura. Their oldest sons, Andrew and Robert (Bob), worked for Laura and Andrew went on to become president of the produce business.

Harrison and Wallace had already decided in their early 20s that they would go into business together, but they were yet to find their business venture. After three years of searching and not quite finding the right opportunity, it was their elder brother Bob who suggested the frozen food business. Harrison and Wallace had no knowledge of the frozen food industry, an industry that at the time was in its infancy, but the brothers did know that their father's Canadian-grown potatoes were exported to Maine where they were then processed as fries and frozen - so why not process and freeze Canadian potatoes in Canada?

The more the brothers learned about the frozen food industry, the more interested they became. They liked the thought of being innovators in a new era of food processing - and it seems like the right idea at the right time. Harrison said it seemed natural and that he and his brothers would earn their livings in the potato business, "Our father was a potato dealer and a farmer. Our grandfather was a farmer. Our great-grandfather was a farmer" - and it was he who started growing potatoes. And from there, McCain Foods was born.

 

For a more detailed account of the first fifty years of McCain, please read our e-book, 'From The Ground Up'. Download in PDF format.

1957

1957

McCain Foods founded

McCain Foods founded

Our first French fry plant opens in Florenceville, New Brunswick.

1965

McCain enters UK market

McCain enters UK market

First ever UK advertising campaign targeting the food service industry, comparing the advantages of McCain frozen french fries with those of fresh potatoes c.1966-67

1968

Scarborough plant opens in UK

Scarborough plant opens in UK

McCain Foods opens its French fry plant in Scarborough, Great Britain and launches a sales organization in Australia.

1969

McCain enters USA market

McCain enters USA market

McCain began exporting to the United States in 1969. Rather than battle the big companies for a share of the national market, they decided McCain would begin as a regional player, and so focused on the densely populated Northeast.

1971

Australian French Fry factory purchased

Australian French Fry factory purchased

Australian French fry plant is purchased and expanded in Daylesford.

1972

Scarborough plant production doubled

Scarborough plant production doubled

Plant production capacity doubled in Scarborough, England.

1973

Across the Channel

Across the Channel

French fry plant purchased in Lewedorp, Netherlands.

1975

Expansion in Australia and USA

Expansion in Australia and USA

New French fry plant begins production in Ballarat, Australia and French fry plant is acquired in Washburn, Maine, U.S.

1976

New Pizza plant and world expansion

New Pizza plant and world expansion

Pizza plant starts up in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, French fry plant purchased in Easton, Maine, U.S.; French fry plant opens in Whittlesey (picture), England and first Australian pizza plant established at Daylesford.

1978

Major expansion in Canada

Major expansion in Canada

Major expansion of prepared foods plant completed in Florenceville, New Brunswick.

1979

Pizza plants opened

Pizza plants opened

Pizza plants open in Ballarat, Australia and Scarborough, England. New French fry plant completed in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada.

1981

New French fry plant France

New French fry plant France

New French fry plant completed in Harnes, France.

1983

Grand Falls

Grand Falls

New juice plant completed in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, Canada.

1984

Further acquisitions

Further acquisitions

Vegetable processing plant purchased in Smithton, Tasmania, Australia; potato-based animal food plant purchased in Presque Isle, Maine (Tater Meal Inc.), U.S.; and fish processing plant purchased in Hull, England (Britfish Ltd.).

1986

Tasmania construction

Tasmania construction

Construction of a CDN$13-million potato processing plant in Smithton, Tasmania, Australia announced. Major Belgian frozen food company purchased in Ostend, Belgium (McCain Frima N.V.); French fry and potato flake manufacturing company acquired in Bethune, France (Beaumarais SA).

1988

Harnes, France

Harnes, France

A CDN$33-million project is announced to double production at the facility in Harnes, France. Potato processing plant acquired in Othello, Washington, U.S.; McCain acquires the assets of Ellio's Pizza in Lodi, New Jersey, U.S.A.

1989

Othello, Washington

Othello, Washington

McCain announced a $35-million expansion of its potato processing plant in Othello, Washington.

1990

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island

McCain announces the construction of a CDN$36-million potato processing facility in Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island, Canada. A CDN$25-million reconstruction is initiated at McCain in Florenceville, New Brunswick, after a fire on December 31, 1989 damages the facilities.

1991

Netherlands acquisition

Netherlands acquisition

McCain acquires the assets of the former Polder Food Products plant in Lelystad, Netherlands by McCain Foods (Holland) BV.

1993

New Zealand

New Zealand

McCain announces a major expansion of its plant in Timaru, New Zealand.

1994

Argentina

Argentina

Plans are announced to build a potato processing facility in Balcarce, Argentina.

1995

Balcace opening

Balcace opening

Harrison and Stephen McCain open the Argentina plant, with Balcarce mayor Jose Luis Perez.

1996

UK and New Zealand Acquisitions

UK and New Zealand Acquisitions

McCain purchases Everest Foods PLC in Wombourne, England and acquires Growers Foods Ltd. in Hastings, New Zealand.

1997

Significant USA purchase

Significant USA purchase

McCain purchases the Ore-Ida foodservice frozen French fry and appetizers business in the U.S. at a cost of US$500 million and begins a CDN$41-million expansion of its French fry line at its plant in Lelystad, Holland.

1998

Further worldwide expansion

Further worldwide expansion

The construction of a CDN$84.2-million French fry plant in Matougues, France, announced. Plus a potato processing plant in Alberta, Canada, expansion of the French fry processing facility in Easton, Maine, U.S, and plans to expand production into Eastern Europe with the construction of a French fry production facility in Wroclaw, Poland.

1999

McCain Global Technology Centre

McCain Global Technology Centre

McCain announces a 16,500-square-foot expansion to its Group Data Centre in Florenceville, Canada, renaming it the McCain Global Technology Centre and more than doubles the size of its potato processing facility in Balcarce, Argentina.

2000

Potato Processing Technology Centre

Potato Processing Technology Centre

McCain announces the construction of a CDN$7.2-million Potato Processing Technology Centre near Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada. Research undertaken by the Centre will be applied to McCain potato processing operations worldwide.

2001

South Africa

South Africa

McCain acquires Heinz Frozen Foods (SA) (Pty.) Ltd. with its French fry processing facility in Viljoenskroon, South Africa; and acquires the production facilities and food service business of Anchor Food Products Inc.

2002

Wong Wing

Wong Wing

McCain acquires Wong Wing Foods of Montreal, Canada’s leading manufacturer of frozen, authentic Chinese entrées, egg rolls and dim sum and Goodman Fielder International (Taiwan) Limited.

2003

Grand Falls upgraded

Grand Falls upgraded

McCain announces a CDN$29-million expansion and upgrading of its Grand Falls pizza plant.

2004

China

China

McCain begins construction of a CDN$43.3 million French fry processing facility in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, in northeast China.

2005

India

India

McCain begins construction of a CDN$18 million potato processing plant in Gujarat Province, India.

2006

Jon-Lin acquisition

Jon-Lin acquisition

McCain acquires Jon-Lin, Inc. of Colton, California, and begins a CDN$70 million expansion and upgrading of its potato processing plant in Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada.

2007

50th Anniversary

50th Anniversary

McCain Foods Limited celebrates its 50th anniversary year.

2009

South Africa expansion

South Africa expansion

McCain expands its potato processing facility in Delmas, South Africa