McCain to dial up fry production in New Brunswick

The highlighted spot in this 2017 aerial photo shows the area of expansion at McCain’s potato processing plant at Florenceville, N.B. (CNW Group/McCain Foods)

The company behind about a quarter of the world’s frozen French fries plans to ramp up demand from New Brunswick potato growers with a line capacity upgrade at its recently expanded plant there.

McCain Foods announced Aug. 27 it will put up another $12 million to add capacity to its Florenceville, N.B. plant’s French fry line dedicated to food service and retail customers.

The line upgrade is be be done in two phases, one starting in August and a second to complete the project in early 2020, the company said in a release.

The resulting capacity boost will call for an another 1,000 acres of potatoes from local growers, McCain said.

Operations at Florenceville, near the Maine-New Brunswick border about 115 km northwest of Fredericton, have been a fixture for the potato processing company since it got its start there in 1957.

In the midst of major upgrades at plants elsewhere in its network, McCain budgeted $65 million in 2017 for a 35,000 square foot specialty production line at the Florenceville plant.

The company at the time described that development as its largest capacity expansion investment in Canada in nearly 10 years.

Between 2016 and 2019 it also put up $45 million for work on its Portage la Prairie, Man. plant and just over $30 million for its plant at Carberry, Man., about 80 km west of Portage.

Those moves followed McCain’s decision to close its plant on Prince Edward Island in 2014.

In all, McCain has eight plants across Canada out of 53 worldwide, making potato products for over 160 countries with worldwide sales it puts at over $9.5 billion.

“McCain French fries continue to be in high demand and we are investing in a strong and sustainable future,” Danielle Barran, president for McCain Foods Canada, said in the company’s Aug. 27 release. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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