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Next Generation follow supply chain relationships from field to fork

25 July 2016

AHDB Potatoes’ Next Generation continued to explore GB’s diverse potato industry with a processing-focussed, whole supply chain day at McCain GB Foods Ltd Headquarters in Scarborough recently.

Demonstrating how customer satisfaction starts with a quality crop; the visit incorporated crop production processes at local potato seed and ware growers, James Stockdale Ltd (‘Stockdales’), before a tour of the McCain facilities at Scarborough.

The day concluded at a nearby Haven Holiday Park, Primrose Valley in Yorkshire, to see utilisation of the end product by McCain’s food service client Bourne Leisure Ltd, who provide holidays and holiday home ownership in the UK.

Matthew Stubbings, trainee fieldsman for McCain, and previous Next Generation delegate, continued his ambassadorial role in industry, leading proceedings for the day.

“Each part of the day aimed to demonstrate a unique supplier and customer relationship, highlighting the differing specifications and demands at each point, whilst at the same time reflecting the common agenda for all stakeholders around maintaining provision of a consistently high quality product for the end consumer,” explained Mr Stubbings.

Next Generation delegate, Andrew Johnston of Albanwise Farming Ltd, on the value of the day, said: “Personally as farm manger for a large seed producer, I am very knowledgeable about seed potatoes, but keen to learn more about what happens after.

“My awareness was limited around what the ware grower, and then processers like McCain do, as well as the end user delivering direct to the consumer.

“It’s enlightening to see what direction they are all moving in and their individual challenges. It enables someone like myself, right at the very start of that chain, to better understand their perspective and help deliver what they’re looking for.“

With a focus was on how they manage to maintain a reliable and consistent supply of high-grade processing potatoes, delegates headed to Stockdales to start the day.

A diverse enterprise, Stockdales undertakes production and grading of seed and ware. Delegates were given insight into washing, cutting, chitting and storage of potatoes alongside their successful haulage business, delivering around 80 per cent of total haulage into McCain’s Scarborough site 24 hours a day, all year round.

After an in depth tour of the progressive and highly technical processing factory, McCain detailed how they deliver £110 million directly into the UK agricultural industry whilst also operating in over 160 countries across the world.

They are the biggest purchaser of potatoes in the UK, buying 10% Scottish seed and 15% of the ware crop directly from 300 UK farmers.

Despite their complexity and scale, they retain a simple philosophy – ‘It’s All Good’.

“This means good people, working in a good business, producing good food to make people feel good,” explained Andra Stan, Corporate Affairs Manager for McCain over a working business lunch.

Alongside a successful range of products for retail, McCain also supply multiple food service sectors, from restaurants and quick service outlets, to schools and leisure facilities, each with varying needs.

A final stop at Primrose Valley Holiday Park provided insight into this process, and how McCain work closely to understand their operators’ needs, enabling them to develop a product that fits their service requirements.

Dave Lee, partner in family farm W Lee & Co, who grows frying potatoes for direct sale to fish and chip shops said:  “It’s been extremely interesting to see the whole supply chain, starting with the farmer’s input right through to the food service industry end customer.

“It’s been especially great to see how they can utilise and take forward the farmer’s potatoes in such a range of products.”

On McCain’s second year hosting for the programme, Mr Stubbings said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic having the Next Generation back with us today. I’m really proud to be able to showcase McCain and what we do.

“It’s great to be involved in an initiative that seeks to boost the future outlook for our industry through this kind of learning from each other. It’s how we can really drive our potato industry forward.”

The group continue their learning in July and August with visits to International Procurement & Logistics Limited in Cambridgeshire and AHDB’s SPot Farm West, Staffordshire.

- Ends -


For more information: Helen Williams, AHDB Potatoes Communications Executive,, 024 7647 8662

2016/17 Next Generation Programme Delegates:

  • Adam Lidstone (A J Lidstone & Son)
  • Alistair Neill (Produce Solutions)
  • Andrew Johnston (Albanwise Ltd)
  • Annabel Hamilton (Patrick Dean Ltd)
  • Dave Lee (W.Lee & Company)
  • Edward Backhouse (C S Backhouse)
  • Jimmy Dagg (G I Dagg & Partners)
  • Jonah Ehmann (Greenseed International)
  • Josh Thomson (Ibbotson’s Produce)
  • Nick Crow (Cherrington Farm)
  • Richard Wilson (RS Cockerill (York) Ltd)
  • Steven Bell (Albert Bartlett & Sons)
  • Will Brice (Frederick Hiam Ltd)

Notes to editors:

  • The Next Generation Programme serves to develop the future leaders of the GB potato industry through exposure to the whole supply chain.
  • AHDB is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. Its purpose is to equip levy payers with independent, evidence-based information and tools to grow, become more competitive and sustainable. Established in 2008 and classified as a Non-Departmental Public Body, it supports the following industries: meat and livestock (cattle, sheep and pigs) in England; horticulture, milk and potatoes in Great Britain; and cereals and oilseeds in the UK. The AHDB’s remit covers 75 per cent of total UK agricultural output. Further information on AHDB can be found at
  • The ‘AHDB Potatoes’ brand serves to highlight AHDB work and resources that help make the British potato industry more sustainable, competitive and profitable, and stimulate use of the GB potato crop in home and export markets (


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