Continuing our series looking behind the scenes at suppliers to the hospitality market, we catch up with Adrian Greaves, associate director, McCain Foodservice
Q What is the company's objective?
A To produce good, convenient, enjoyable food using the best natural ingredients. Our aim is to enable caterers to continue to meet their operational and customer needs while responding positively to consumer trends for natural ingredients and meeting any legislative guidelines, such as those within the education sector.
Q What are the current issues facing your food service customers?
A In the current economic downturn, decreased consumer spending has meant our customers face a challenging marketplace. It is important that they continue to serve quality products and stay ahead of competitors by offering unique and innovative menus.
Q How do you help them address these issues?
A Through our long relationship with the catering industry, we understand the importance of building menus that excite Britain's taste-buds and offer variety and an exciting menu including seasonal variations.
It's easy just to think about the centre of plate: however, the side dish - such as the choice of potato or vegetable Ð is just as important. That's why we are continually investing in developing new products, most recently our Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper Wedges and Caramelised Onion & Thyme Dice, which help menus to stand out.
Q What are the questions your customers ask most regularly?
A We are often asked "Why should I pay more for quality products when I can buy cheaper alternatives?" In these challenging times, customer satisfaction should be at the forefront of caterers' minds and our consumer research has shown the quality of chips caterers serve is extremely important. Eighty-five per cent of consumers surveyed believed that bad chips would ruin their meal and over two-thirds would never return to an outlet if it sold bad chips.
We pride ourselves on our potato expertise, enabling us to produce the best-quality chips. In Scotland we have our own unique seed business, which means we can control the quality of our potatoes before they are planted. Working with over 300 British farmers, it means that all of our McCain food service chips are made from 100% British potatoes. Sourced as close to our factories as possible, each potato has its own passport, allowing us to trace every potato back to the farm, and often field, in which it was grown.
For the caterer, this provides the opportunity to emphasise British provenance on their menus, as well being reassured that their chips have been produced to the very highest standards from farm to fork.
Q What do you believe will be the next big trend in your market?
A Traceability and transparency will continue to be even more important, as consumers want to understand where their food comes from and be reassured that it only contains what it needs to.
Q Long term, where's the business going?
A As part of our "It's All Good" philosophy, which guides our actions as a responsible manufacturer and corporate citizen, we will continue to focus on efficiency and sustainability.
Last year we invested £15m in renewable energy initiatives at our Whittlesey site in Cambridgeshire, Britain's largest chip factory. By constructing three of the UK's most powerful wind turbines and an anaerobic lagoon, 70% of the annual electrical power required to operate the plant now comes from renewable sources.
Company name McCain Foods (GB)
Address Havers Hill, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 3BR
Telephone 01723 584141
Websitewww.mccain.co.uk/foodservice Area of operation Nationwide
Products A comprehensive range of potato products from the Signatures, Classics and Alternatives ranges
Market sectors Pubs, restaurants, hotels, education
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