McCain invests £35m to support struggling potato farmers

31 January 2023 by
McCain invests £35m to support struggling potato farmers

McCain, the UK's largest manufacturer of frozen potato products, is to pay farmers 31% more for their crop in response to rising inflation.

The company said the contract indexation increase was equivalent to a £35m investment and would help potato farmers who had struggled through "one of the toughest growing seasons in the last 40 years".

In the past year, growers have seen their crop impacted by heatwaves, droughts and floods while facing huge increases in the price of fertiliser and energy.

McCain raised contract prices 15% last year and also announced a £5m energy support package.

Rising electricity costs have hit farmers with long-term storage facilities and McCain has pledged to pay a supplement to those who have had to renew electricity contracts or are paying variable rates for the current season.

James Young, vice president of agriculture at McCain GB & Ireland, said: "Potato farmers have been hit very hard in the last couple of years and are facing a myriad of unprecedented challenges – from droughts, to rising fertiliser costs and energy crisis – that are affecting the way they grow potatoes.

"As the largest purchaser of British potatoes, we pride ourselves on our strong partnerships with our 250 growers and are committed to helping them overcome these challenges.

"However, more work needs to be done collaboratively to ensure the long-term viability of potato growing in the UK. We are committed to working with farmers, customers, industry leadership groups and the government to create a sustainable future for years to come."

The announcement comes off the back of McCain's Potato Farmer Pledge, a multi-year £25m investment in the British potato industry that offered a loyalty scheme to growers, grant funding and contract optimisation.

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