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McCain Foods (GB) hires James Young as new Agriculture Director

McCain Foods (GB) hires James Young as new Agriculture Director

October 07, 2021
McCain, the UK’s No.1 frozen potato brand, has announced the appointment of James Young, who will be joining the UK senior leadership team as Agriculture Director.

In his new role, James will take overall responsibility for McCain’s crucial raw material – potatoes. He will work across commercial, strategic, and operational elements, from ensuring the reliable supply of high-quality seed to managing the entire potato purchasing process, ensuring best practice in crop husbandry and new variety development.

James will also continue to develop McCain’s strong relationship with its 250 strong grower community and enhance the integration from field to factory, as well as leading the brand's sustainable farming efforts as regenerative agriculture increases in importance across the industry.

The appointment comes as McCain takes an increasingly strong leadership position on protecting the resilience of UK potato growers against climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the recent McCain Potato Farmer Pledge, a GBP 25 million (about USD 34 million) investment to help safeguard the future of British agriculture.

The business has also committed to implementing regenerative agricultural practices across its entire potato acreage by 2030, as well as co-funding a new initiative to help develop and implement new techniques and technology to improve soil quality and water management on UK farms.

James Young, new Agriculture Director:
"I am delighted to join McCain, a business I have admired for a long time as a champion of UK farming. My focus will be to continue deepening the work to help protect the future of potato growing and embed sustainable agriculture practices. I look forward to working with the business to innovate, collaborate with growers, and ultimately deliver excellent products to customers."
James joins McCain with an extensive 25-year career in agriculture, most recently as Agri & Veg Sourcing Director for frozen food manufacturers Nomad Foods, the parent company for Birds Eye, Goodfellas, and Aunt Bessie’s, where he leveraged his wealth of knowledge to champion cross-functional collaboration, people development, maintaining strong farmer relationships and sustainable savings.

Howard Snape, Regional Director of (GB):
"We are proud to be the nation’s number one frozen potato brand and remain committed to producing high-quality products and retaining strong relationships with our growers. The British potato growing industry’s future is at threat due to increasingly severe weather in recent seasons, coupled with the compounding impact of COVID-19."

"We need to continue enhancing our efforts and ensuring that we choose sustainable farming practices with a strong leadership team to drive this forward."

"This is why we are excited to welcome James into McCain - his role will be a critical addition to the GB team as we continue to take a leadership position in ensuring the long-term sustainability of British agriculture, from regenerative farming practices to innovations in climate resilience. I am thrilled to welcome him to McCain."
James takes on the role as the business prepares to celebrate its 54th year after the first plant outside of Canada was built in Scarborough in 1968. He will be taking over from Daniel Metheringham following his promotion to VP of Agriculture, North America Potato, based at McCain’s Chicago HQ.

McCain is the UK’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products since launching in Britain over 50 years ago. It remains committed to innovation and investing in the category and, in 2016, expanded into the chilled aisles too.
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