AHDB Potatoes visit McCain

AHDB Potatoes' Next Generation continued to explore GB's diverse potato industry with a processing-focused, whole supply chain day at McCain GB Foods headquarters in Scarborough recently.

The visit incorporated crop production processes at local potato seed and ware growers, James Stockdale, before a tour of the McCain facilities at Scarborough.

The day concluded at a nearby Haven Holiday Park, Primrose Valley in Yorkshire, to see utilisation of the end product by McCain’s food service client Bourne Leisure, who provide holidays and holiday home ownership in the UK.

Matthew Stubbings, trainee fieldsman for McCain, and previous Next Generation delegate, continued his ambassadorial role in industry, leading proceedings for the day.

He said: "Each part of the day aimed to demonstrate a unique supplier and customer relationship, highlighting the differing specifications and demands at each point, whilst at the same time reflecting the common agenda for all stakeholders around maintaining provision of a consistently high quality product for the end consumer."

Next Generation delegate, Andrew Johnston of Albanwise Farming said: "Personally as farm manger for a large seed producer, I am very knowledgeable about seed potatoes, but keen to learn more about what happens after.

"My awareness was limited around what the ware grower, and then processers like McCain do, as well as the end user delivering direct to the consumer.

"It’s enlightening to see what direction they are all moving in and their individual challenges. It enables someone like myself, right at the very start of that chain, to better understand their perspective and help deliver what they’re looking for."

Delegates were given insight into washing, cutting, chitting and storage of potatoes alongside Stockdale haulage business, delivering around 80 per cent of total haulage into McCain’s Scarborough site.

After a tour of the processing factory, McCain detailed how they deliver £110 million directly into the UK agricultural industry while also operating in over 160 countries across the world.

They are the biggest purchaser of potatoes in the UK, buying 10 per cent Scottish seed and 15 per cent of the ware crop directly from 300 UK farmers.

Dave Lee, partner in family farm W Lee & Co, who grows frying potatoes for direct sale to fish and chip shops said:  "It’s been extremely interesting to see the whole supply chain, starting with the farmer’s input right through to the food service industry end customer.

"It’s been especially great to see how they can utilise and take forward the farmer’s potatoes in such a range of products."

The group continue their learning in July and August with visits to International Procurement & Logistics Limited in Cambridgeshire and AHDB’s SPot Farm West, Staffordshire.

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