McCain commits £100m to ‘decades more’ at Scarborough site

The McCain plant
The McCain plant

McCain Foods said it was committing itself to Yorkshire “for decades” after it announced the investment of £100m into its Scarborough plant operation.

The food production giant, which has had a base in the Eastfield area of the town for nearly half a century, said the investment was being made to satisfy increasing demand for products and to safeguard jobs.

As well as equipment upgrades, the renewal plans include state-of-the-art odour reduction technology, as well as extensive landscaping around the perimeter of the factory.

The company will also be implementing renewable technology to further reduce its environmental impact.

Part of the investment will see the installation of an anaerobic digester, technology which breaks down waste products to release gases which can in turn be used to generate energy.

The news has been announced just one week after the company, which specialises in frozen chips and other potato products, confirmed that the jobs of 74 members of staff were under threat, although management said they hoped redundancies will be minimised.

A spokesperson said: “It is a really big investment for us and is about ensuring the business is fit for the future.”

When asked if any additional jobs would be created by the investment the spokesperson said: “The message here is very much about securing jobs, rather than creating jobs.”

It is not clear what it means for the proposed redundancies.

McCain’s corporate affairs director, Bill Bartlett, said: “This is a significant investment for McCain, and one that will allow us to meet the ongoing increased demand for our products, address long-term capacity and capability opportunities and deliver the latest technology and broader environmental benefits. This proposal certainly secures our operations in Scarborough and continued employment in the area for decades to come.”

McCain remain’s the Scarborough area’s largest private employer and works in partnership with over 200 suppliers, potato growers and community organisations in the region.

The company’s proposal is currently at the pre-planning stage, with full plans to be submitted for consultation in the coming weeks.

If approved, work is due to start on the revamp project in the summer, with the new factory expected to be up-and-running operationally within three years.

Coun Derek Bastiman, leader of Scarborough Borough Council, praised the investment saying: “This is an extremely significant announcement from McCain, which cements the company’s commitment to Scarborough and the Yorkshire coast, and from which our area’s economy stands to benefit massively.

“An investment of such magnitude will have a hugely positive impact on the local job market and supply chain, which in turn will benefit many other businesses and local families.”