TORONTO — McCain Foods is making progress on its “Good Food” commitments by investing in plant-forward innovation and improving the nutritional profile of its products.
The company has committed to a 15% reduction in sodium across its potato and appetizer products by 2025. Last year it reformulated a number of products in key markets to get closer to that goal. In Europe, it reduced sodium by up to 30% across 20 products in its Just au Four brand. In Great Britain, it reduced sodium by 10% and 20% in its Pickers-branded mozzarella sticks and Halloumi products, respectively. It also reduced sodium by up to 30% in potato products sold in Latin America.
More work is needed to meet the broad sodium reduction target in the next two years, according to the company’s 2022 sustainability report.
“We recognize that our journey to reduce sodium is still in progress, and we’re taking action to maximize our impact,” the report said. “As part of these efforts, we’re re-evaluating our global Good Food strategy to ensure we’re prioritizing products that are highest in sodium and most frequently consumed.”
The sustainability report showed mixed progress on goals around responsible sourcing. While McCain is on track to meet its goal of using 100% cage-free eggs within the next two years, it has made little progress on its goal to remove palm oil from its frying operations by 2025. Its global palm oil usage was 13% in 2022, a modest decrease from baseline levels in 2017 and consistent with 2021 levels. Progress has been stalled by global supply chain disruptions for palm oil alternatives linked to events in Ukraine, according to the report.
New products launched in 2022 supported McCain’s goal of creating healthier products made with simpler ingredients. In the United States, the company launched a range of crinkle, waffle and straight-cut fries that are low in saturated fat and free from trans fat and artificial flavors. In Canada, it introduced a line of breakfast patties that are free from trans-fat, artificial colors and artificial preservatives.
Another way McCain is seeking to meet demand for healthier products is through its investment in Strong Roots. By partnering with the Dublin-based startup, the company has gained an expanded portfolio that includes kale and quinoa burgers, zucchini hash browns, cauliflower hash browns, mixed root vegetable fries and more.McCain is supporting Guelph, Ont.-based GoodLeaf in its construction of new indoor vertical farms in Canada. Once completed, the facilities will sustainably grow local microgreens and leafy greens year-round, free from pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. The company also has invested in The Simple Root, a Denver-based startup making dairy alternatives from root vegetables. The Simple Root last year expanded into plant-based dips and cheese-style spreads, with products launching in the United States and the United Kingdom in 2023.