McCain Foods is renowned as the world’s largest French Fries processor. Founded in 1957 in Canada, McCain took the world by storm, quickly becoming a much-loved brand in the Canadian marketplace. It wasn’t long before it became the world’s most loving brand for great-tasting food. This can be ascertained by the fact that it has a business presence in over 160 countries on six continents.

McCain forged its way to the United States in the year 1971. Now the company hopes to make America’s favorite responsible pleasures slightly extra virtuous. The company is adopting a companywide push for sustainable manufacturing practices.

For a long time, the company is adopting various sustainability practices in its food processing business. In July 2020, McCain’s Ballarat plant in Australia installed an 8.2 megawatt (MW) system that plans to utilize a combination of solar and co-generation technology. The system comprises a 17,000 solar panel ground mount and car park solar array, and a co-generation anaerobic digester that utilizes biogas produced by food waste to generate energy. Together, the two systems will reduce the site’s reliance on natural gas by 16%, and energy consumed from the grid by 39%.

McCain Foods’ Regional President Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India & China, Louis Wolthers, said the renewable energy system is one example of many initiatives to reduce McCain’s Co2 emissions in line with the business’s global Be Good. Do Good. Sustainability Report launch.

“Globally, McCain Foods is committed to reducing our CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2030, ceasing any reliance on coal by 2025, and having 100 percent of our plants powered by renewable electricity by 2030. This project makes a significant contribution to this target,” Mr. Wolthers said.

“Solar is a key investment. Even though Ballarat’s known for its freezing weather, we actually have quite high solar radiance, so solar does stack up.

“But the sun doesn’t shine 24/7 and that’s the beauty of our cogeneration system, it’s running night and day.”

“We’ve got to look at what our best bang for buck is for investment to reduce CO2.” Said Engineering Project Manager for CO2 reduction, Scott White. “This does offer significant cost savings as well as major CO2 savings. He further added that “McCain Foods has got really stringent global CO2 reductions and in Ballarat we’re leading the way.

“Fun Fact: McCain Foods has a total production capacity of more than one million pounds of potato products per hour across its processing plants around the globe. The company makes one-quarter of all the frozen fries produced in the world.”

Getting off-grid

In continuation to that, The McCain Foods plant bordering Canada in Aroostook County could run off 50 percent solar energy in the near future. To start that process, McCain Foods will create five community solar gardens to help power the plant located in Easton.

“Climate change is an existential threat. We’re committed to playing our role in solving the problem, and the solar gardens are just the natural next step in our sustainability goals,” said Curtis Swager, McCain’s senior director of government and external affairs.

Plans for the community solar gardens – a term describing smaller plots of solar panels – were announced on June 5, the start of McCain’s self-proclaimed “sustainability week.” The gardens will be spread across Easton, with one being built on a capped landfill.

“It’s not just about having a facility in Easton – it’s about being good community members in Easton,” Swager further said.

Looking beyond its end-of-the-decade goal, the potato processing giant hopes to continue its push for sustainability throughout the nation.

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