In 1957 Wallace and Harrison McCain, along with their brothers Robert and Andrew, founded McCain Foods, opening the first production facility in their hometown of Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada. Under Wallace and Harrison’s leadership, McCain Foods quickly established itself within the Canadian marketplace and then began a journey to become the world's largest manufacturer 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 20,000 people with global sales of CDN$8.5 billion.
We operate across six continents with 47 sites (with the recent announcement to acquire Swinkels and Royaan via Van Geloven, this will take our total to 51), working with farmers around the world and use over 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 snacks, meals and vegetables for both the retail and foodservice industries.
Harrison, Wallace, Robert and Andrew 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.
Our first French fry plant opens in Florenceville, New Brunswick.
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
McCain Foods opens its French fry plant in Scarborough, Great Britain and launches a sales organization in Australia.
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.
Australian French fry plant is purchased and expanded in Daylesford.
Plant production capacity doubled in Scarborough, England.
French fry plant purchased in Lewedorp, Netherlands.
New French fry plant begins production in Ballarat, Australia and French fry plant is acquired in Washburn, Maine, U.S.
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.
Major expansion of prepared foods plant completed in Florenceville, New Brunswick.
Pizza plants open in Ballarat, Australia and Scarborough, England. New French fry plant completed in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada.
New French fry plant completed in Harnes, France.
New juice plant completed in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, Canada.
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.).
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).
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.
McCain announced a $35-million expansion of its potato processing plant in Othello, Washington.
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.
McCain acquires the assets of the former Polder Food Products plant in Lelystad, Netherlands by McCain Foods (Holland) BV.
McCain announces a major expansion of its plant in Timaru, New Zealand.
Plans are announced to build a potato processing facility in Balcarce, Argentina.
Harrison and Stephen McCain open the Argentina plant, with Balcarce mayor Jose Luis Perez.
McCain purchases Everest Foods PLC in Wombourne, England and acquires Growers Foods Ltd. in Hastings, New Zealand.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
McCain announces a CDN$29-million expansion and upgrading of its Grand Falls pizza plant.
McCain begins construction of a CDN$43.3 million French fry processing facility in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, in northeast China.
McCain begins construction of a CDN$18 million potato processing plant in Gujarat Province, India.
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.
McCain Foods Limited celebrates its 50th anniversary year.
McCain expands its potato processing facility in Delmas, South Africa
McCain purchases CêlaVíta, a manufacturer of potato products based in Netherlands. This acquisition expanded our product portfolio within European markets by introducing chilled potato products, such as seasoned sliced potatoes.
Kitchens of Sara Lee in Australia was added to the McCain group of companies, allowing us to offer ready to cook meals, such as lasagne, and a wide variety of desserts, such as apple pie.
McCain purchases Lutosa, based in Belgium. Lutosa offers a wide variety of products including gluten-free options. This partnership expands the McCain group of companies into markets such as Africa, the Middle East, and more areas of Europe.
McCain continues to expand the business beyond just potatoes with the acquisition of Infinity Foods - a frozen appetizer company based in Wisconsin.
McCain Foods continues to grow with the acquisition of Van Geloven - a Netherlands-based company making an array of snacks and appetizers.
© McCain Foods 2015