McCain Foods

Florenceville, New Brunswick

Frozen foods

Primary market: Canada, US and international

Number of employees: 3,000

President: Darryl Rowe


Getting the food back into food


Food is said by some to have a big leg up on other industries during recession periods, due to the fact that no matter how bad things get, people always have to eat. However according to Darryl Rowe, tough times have been a mixed blessing for McCain Foods Canada. “Our portfolio is balanced between retail and foodservice distribution,” Rowe, McCain’s president explains. “So while our sales to grocery stores have done well, restaurant sales have been harder to come by.”


McCain Foods is a venerable Canadian success story. Founded by Harrison and Wallace McCain, the company, which labels itself as the world’s largest producer of French fries, is now mostly run by professional managers (though Allison McCain (a nephew) holds the chairman’s position). The company, which has 12 processing facilities in Canada and 53 around the world, also produces pizzas, appetizers, snack foods, juices and a range of other food products.


Rowe attributes the company’s recent success to several factors, notably the “Its all good,” initiative, which involves using more natural and fresher ingredients in company offerings. “We want our products to be made mostly using inputs that people find in their kitchens,” explains Rowe. “Our goal is to limit the use of those fancy sounding ingredients whose names end with “ites,” “ates,” and “ides,” that few people understand what they do.” McCain Foods’ strategy of consistently introducing new products, such as sweet potato fries, new pizzas and foodservice offerings, also helps sustain demand.


Like many of Canada’s best managed companies, McCain Foods has also been labouring tirelessly to help better the environment, through a variety of initiatives ranging from better waste water management practices, improved energy efficiency, cutting air emissions and limiting the production of solid wastes.




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