The manufacturer has committed to a 31% contract indexation increase to further support a supply chain battered by environmental threats – such as drought and heatwaves – and a challenging array of geopolitical issues that have resulted in ‘un-precedented’ on-farm inflation.
McCain’s latest round of investment followed last year’s contract price increase of 15% and a supplementary £5m energy support package, totalling a £50m investment in the past two years.
Toughest growing season
James Young, vice president of Agriculture at McCain GB & Ireland, said: “Potato farmers have been hit very hard in the last couple of years and are facing a myriad of unprecedented challenges – from droughts, to rising fertiliser costs and energy crisis – that are affecting the way they grow potatoes. The combination of all these factors mean that they have experienced one of the toughest growing seasons in the last 40 years.
“As the largest purchaser of British potatoes, we pride ourselves on our strong partnerships with our 250 growers and are committed to helping them overcome these challenges.
“However, more work needs to be done collaboratively to ensure the long-term viability of potato growing in the UK. We are committed to working with farmers, customers, industry leadership groups and the government to create a sustainable future for years to come.”
McCain has made a global commitment to implement regenerative agriculture practices across 100% of its potato acres by 2030. The £30m investment comes off the back of the company’s Potato Farmer Pledge, a multi-year £25m investment in the British potato industry that offered a loyalty scheme to growers, grant funding and contract optimisation.
Ben Sykes, a potato farmer for McCain in North Yorkshire, added: “In 2022, the challenge of growing potatoes in a changing climate was compounded by significant inflation in agricultural inputs.
“McCain’s indexation model has acknowledged these pressures for the 2023 season, allowing us to continue to focus on producing quality crops for the business whilst we strive to be resilient, financially viable and environmentally sustainable for the years to come.”
Meanwhile, discount supermarket Lidl is to invest £4bn into British food businesses in 2023.