McCain Australia
Frozen food producer
McCain established their Australian subsidiary in 1968, and currently operates eight production facilities, which are located on five sites throughout Australia and New Zealand. Acquired Kitchens of Sara Lee Pty Ltd from Hillshire Brands in 2013 for $85 million.


Owned CAN
Rating C
About the Ratings

Company Ownership

McCain Foods (Aust) Pty Ltd
McCain Foods Ltd
owns 100% of McCain Foods (Aust) Pty Ltd
Potato processors
McCain Foods is the #1 French fry maker in the world, processing about one million pounds of French fries and other potato products per hour. The McCain family began producing french fries in 1957 and still owns the company. Today they operate 50 plants around the world and their products sell in more than 130 countries.

Company Assessment

McCain Foods (Aust) Pty Ltd
This company received a packaging performance level of 4 (Leading) in its 2024 APCO Annual Report. Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) is a not-for-profit organisation leading the development of a circular economy for packaging in Australia. Each year, APCO Members are required to submit an APCO Annual Report and Action Plan, which includes an overall performance level from 1 (Getting Started) to 5 (Beyond Best Practice).
Source: APCO (2024)
Human Rights Law Centre's 2022 report, "Broken Promises: Two years of corporate reporting under Australia's Modern Slavery Act", examines statements submitted to the Government's Modern Slavery Register by 92 companies sourcing from four sectors with known risks of modern slavery: garments from China, rubber gloves from Malaysia, seafood from Thailand and fresh produce from Australia. Modern slavery statements are analysed to see if they comply with the mandatory reporting requirements, identify or disclose obvious modern slavery risks, and demonstrate effective actions to address risks. This company's modern slavery disclosure statement received a rating in the 21-30% range. The average score was 44% and the highest score was 89%.
In 2010 McCain Foods was fined $145,000 after a worker's thumb was severed in a potato peeler three years earlier. The company pleaded guilty in Ballarat County Court to failing to maintain a safe working environment.
This company has been criticised for offensive advertising. In 2016 the Advertising Standards Bureau upheld complaints about a television ad by this company on the grounds that it breached advertising codes. The ad opens with one young man bailing up and dancing stupidly in front of a pizza delivery driver on a motor scooter. While the driver is distracted a second young man steals a pizza from the container behind the driver. Several young men then eat the stolen pizza and a McCain pizza. They are blindfolded. The ad ends with one of these young men punching one of his friends in the head (both blindfolded), for what appears to be the fun of doing so. The ad was subsequently discontinued or modified.
Some, but not necessarily all, of this company's products are palm oil free. For more details, follow the link to see Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia's list of products which manufacturers have told them are palm oil free or contain segregated certified sustainable palm oil.
In 2011 McCain was awarded the Parent Jury's Fame Award for Parents' Choice, for its school veggie patches campaign. The award congratulates food marketing campaigns that promotes healthy eating to children in a fun and appealing way. The Parents Jury is a children's health advocacy group.
McCain Foods Ltd
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. Responding companies are scored across four key areas: disclosure; awareness; management; and leadership. This company received a CDP Climate Change score of B.
Source: CDP (2023)
The PalmOil Scan app, produced by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), rates companies on their commitment to sourcing sustainable palm oil. Companies are scored on their use of certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO), commitment to sourcing CSPO, on-the-ground conservation action, and membership to the RSPO. Companies can earn a rating of Excellent, Good, Poor or No Commitment. This company is rated "Good" (retrieved 18 Nov 2023).
Source: WAZA (2023)
As You Sow's 2024 Plastic Promises Scorecard measures the corporate ambition and action of 225 large companies across six industries on six core pillars of plastic packaging pollution prevention: 1) Recyclability, 2) Reduction, 3) Recycled Content, 4) Recovery, 5) Reuse, and 6) Producer Responsibility. This company received a grade of D.
This company has products rated RED in Greenpeace Canada's "How to Avoid Genetically Engineered Foods" Shoppers Guide. Products on the RED list are likely to contain GE or GE-derived ingredients from the most widely grown GE crops, usually corn, soy, canola or cotton. Companies on this list have confirmed that their products may or are likely to be made with GE ingredients, or have not denied using GE foods when given the opportunity to do so.
As listed on the We Mean Business website, this company has committed to the following climate action initiatives: adopt a science-based emissions reduction target; commit to 100% renewable power.
This company is listed on the RSPCA Australia website as 'cage-free and proud', signifying a commitment to source 100% cage-free eggs by 2025. Essentially cage-free means barn laid, which is better than cage eggs, but still much worse than free-range or organic eggs when it comes to animal welfare.
This company has a number of sustainability claims on its website.
This company is a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform, the main food industry initiative supporting the development of sustainable agriculture worldwide. Created by Nestle, Unilever and Danone in 2002, the SAI Platform is a non-profit organization to facilitate sharing, at precompetitive level, of knowledge and initiatives to support the development and implementation of sustainable agriculture practices involving the different stakeholders of the food chain.
This company is a signatory to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, whose goal is to eliminate plastic pollution at its source.
In 2023, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) asked companies to provide data about their efforts to manage and govern freshwater resources. Responding companies are scored on six key metrics: transparency; governance & strategy; measuring & monitoring; risk assessment; targets & goals; and value chain engagement. This company received a CDP Water Security score of C.
Source: CDP (2023)
The 2024 Social Benchmark assesses the world's 2,000 most influential companies on their responsibility in meeting society's fundamental expectations towards three measurement areas: respecting human rights, providing decent work, and acting ethically. This company was assessed in 2023 and received a score of 8.5/20. The average score was an alarmingly low 4.6/20 and the highest score was 15.5/20.
Friends of the Earth's 2014 report "Tiny Ingredients, Big Risks" names this company as one of over 200 transnational food companies engaged in nanotechnology research and development, and on their way to commercializing products. New studies are adding to a growing body of scientific evidence indicating nanomaterials may be toxic to humans and the environment.
Source: FOE (2014)
The 2023 Food and Agriculture Benchmark assessed 350 keystone companies across the entirety of the food system, from farm to fork. It covers three dimensions where transformation is needed: nutrition, environment and social inclusion. This company ranked #55/350, with a total score of 31.7/100.

Company Details

Wholly-owned subsidiary
810 million AUD (2019)
1,400 (2012)

Contact Details

Ballarat, VIC, 3355, Australia
03 5338 0200
1800 065 521

Products / Brands

McCain Australia