McCain pledges to use 'regenerative farming' principles

The new commitment will encompass McCain's entire acreage of 370,000 acres
The new commitment will encompass McCain's entire acreage of 370,000 acres

McCain, the world's largest manufacturer of frozen potato products, has pledged to roll out regenerative agricultural practices across its entire operation.

The firm's climate-friendly farming methods will commence across its 370,000 potato acreage by 2030 as part of a drive to become 'planet-friendly'.

Measures will include minimising ploughing and planting more cover crops to lessen the demand for carbon intensive fertilisers.

It will also use 'natural processes' to control pests, prevent plant disease and strengthen crops against severe weather.

A sustainable farming practice, regenerative agriculture seeks to promote biodiversity, capture more carbon and increase yield and quality per acre.

Max Koeune, McCain's chief executive officer, said the pandemic had put a spotlight on the 'precarious nature' of the global food system.

“Our belief in regenerative agriculture goes back to our roots as a farm business,” he explained.

"As a global leader in food production, McCain has a responsibility to re-imagine the way we grow a potato in a way that is beneficial for both the planet, and the communities where we operate."

McCain’s annual Global Sustainability Report tracks the progress of commitments made in its initial sustainability report issued last year.

The updated report, released on Monday (7 June), has made a series of new commitments to help the company move towards its climate objectives.

Other commitments beyond the regenerative agriculture pledge include moving to 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and using 100% of every potato harvested.

The firm is also aiming to reduce carbon emissions from potato farming, storage and freight by 25% by 2030.

Howard Snape, regional president at McCain GB said: “We are committed to helping and protecting British potato growers to ensure the long-term sustainability of the potato crop.

“The impacts of climate change are all too real and our farmers have been hit immensely hard in recent years having faced a major drought and the wettest harvest on record.

“This announcement will be critical in helping us reduce our collective carbon footprint, whilst building a resilient supply chain in which everyone can thrive.”

McCain is the UK’s largest purchaser of British potatoes, buying approximately 15% of the annual potato crop.

The company works with over 250 UK growers.