09/02/2022 – Retail / McCain / Food / Frozen / MENA / Gulfood
APPETISING COMMITMENTS: Gulfood 2022 Q&A – McCain Middle East FZE
With a 60+ year history and a presence in the Middle East region spanning almost two decades, alongside a clear focus on both Out-of-Home and In-Home segments, McCain has long served such markets with a wide range of quality frozen potato products and appetisers. Speaking ahead of the company’s appearance at Gulfood 2022 in February, Mr Jacco Alblas – Managing Director (MENA) at McCain Middle East FZE – describes this still family-owned leading manufacturer’s commitments to promoting smart and sustainable farming, resource-efficient production, enhanced nutritional profiles across its product range, and supporting the resilience of rural communities.
What products does McCain supply to markets throughout the MENA region today?
“We currently supply the MENA market with our extensive range of frozen potato and appetiser products – from our large portfolio of potato fries and potato specialties, to our exciting portfolio of cheese and onion appetisers.”
What recent innovations or product launches will you be showcasing at Gulfood 2022?
“We will be showcasing not one but two innovations at Gulfood this year. The first product is the McCain Spicy Crispers – a unique V-shape cut potato that delivers an ultra crispy crunch, now seasoned with a popular mild spicy flavour. The second product is the McCain Mini Crispy Onion Rings – a flavour that consumers know and love, now in a mini and fun shape!”
How is McCain Middle East leveraging upon this surge in interest in plant-based products?
“Our potato products are naturally plant-based, and answer one of the fastest growing consumer trends across the world. Not only are potatoes plant-based, they are a source of potassium, magnesium, fibre and vitamins (B6, B9); they also contain vitamin C (an antioxidant), as well as being a good source of carbohydrates.”
Sustainability is a clear consideration for all businesses today. Could you describe any such initiatives in which your company is engaged at the agricultural level?
“McCain Food’s commitments for smart and sustainable farming include:
• Implementing regenerative agricultural practices across 100 per cent of McCain potato acres by 2030.
• Operating three ‘Farms of the Future’ by 2025, dedicated to developing regenerative agricultural practices.
• Developing research partnerships and leveraging collective action to advance regenerative agriculture.
• Reducing CO2 per tonne from potato farming, storage and freight by 25 per cent by 2030.
• Improving water-use efficiency by 15 per cent in water-stressed regions by 2025.
And how does McCain demonstrate its commitment to sustainability at the production/processing level?
“McCain Food’s commitments for resource efficient operations include:
• A 50-per-cent absolute reduction in CO2 emissions (Scope 1 & 2); to move out of coal, and to utilise 100-per-cent renewable electricity by 2030.
• A 30-per-cent reduction in CO2 emissions intensity (Scope 3) by 2030 (2017 baseline).
• A 15-per-cent improvement in water-use efficiency in seven priority plants by 2025.
• Zero waste to landfill and 100-per-cent potato utilisation by 2025.
• Making 100-per-cent of our packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.
Health and nutrition has become a priority for consumers the world over. How is McCain responding to that need?
“One of McCain Food’s sustainability pillars is ‘Good Food’, which is all about improving the nutritional profile of our products, while offering healthier choices and recognisable ingredients.
McCain Food’s commitments for Good Food are:
• Using ingredients that customers recognise, expect and accept.
• Removing palm oil from our frying operations for McCain-branded products by 2025.
• A 15-per-cent reduction in sodium (sales-weighted average) in our potato and appetiser products by 2025.
• Providing clear and transparent nutritional information.
• Expanding our healthier offerings.”
Regarding socially-led initiatives, could you tell me more about any recent or on-going community projects/partnerships in which is McCain is engaged?
“We care deeply about building long-term, trusted connections with the growers, communities and employees who produce our food around the world. For us, supporting thriving communities means co-creating positive change for rural sustainable livelihoods. We’re working to contribute to the competitiveness, resilience and long-term development of those communities. We’re focused on future-proofing agriculture by continuing to support growers in training, knowledge development and technology transfer.
“McCain Food’s commitments to Thriving Communities include:
• Supporting farmers and families by donating 200 million meals to food banks and NGOs by 2025.
• Supporting farmers and families with 50,000 hours of employee volunteering by 2025.
• Improving the livelihoods of 10,000 vulnerable farmers and families by 2025.”
What current trends, challenges and/or opportunities can you identify for businesses like yours in the Middle East?
“Of course it varies across the region, but the Middle East is a very dynamic and fast growing market! Consumers love food; they want to experience innovative concepts, appreciate high quality, and see good and tasteful food as an important part of their social life.
“Challenges will always remain, but these days supply chain interruptions and high inflation are the ones requiring special attention to keep our service at the right levels.”
Finally, what factors have been most important to McCain Middle East’s success thus far – and what’s the vision for the company’s future prospects?
“McCain is not only a supplier of potato products and appetisers – McCain stands, and will continue to stand, for professional services that include partnerships, consistent quality and an exciting and inspirational innovation agenda for the near future.”
Visit McCain at stand D7-29, Hall 7 at Gulfood 2022 (13–17 February at Dubai World Trade Centre).
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