A timeline of history

Since 1968, the good people at McCAIN have enjoyed a spectacular rise from just a small farm in Daylesford. Their dedication to only the freshest and finest quality produce straight from the goodness of the earth, their loyal employees, and continuous and innovative improvement, all contributes to making McCAIN one of Australia’s and New Zealand's leading frozen foods brands.

McCain Daylesford PLant 1970

The Daylesford Plant 1970

1968: It All Begins

McCAIN lands on Australian shores and starts selling French fries imported from America on 1 July.

1970: Already a Hit

By now three salesmen are employed and McCAIN gets started. With the strong scent of success, McCAIN purchase a small potato processing plant in Daylesford, Victoria. The manufacturing of the first home-grown McCAIN French fries begins. Delicious and fresh, they were a hit and the McCAIN growth begins. It wasn’t long before a new plant was needed and Ballarat was the chosen location due to the district’s reputation for potato farming.

Arial shot of the McCain Ballarat Factory 1976

The Ballarat Factory 1976

Copper Kettle packaging once McCain had purchased them

Copper Kettle Packaging

1976-1978: Bigger and Better

As the Ballarat plant cooks up their first batch of golden fries bursting with pure goodness, the original Daylesford plant gets a makeover and begins to manufacture the famous McCAIN Frozen Pizzas. The popularity of pizza sees McCAIN expand to a neighbouring plant in Ballarat, where all pizza production will now be based.

1982 - 1984: Spreading Our Wings

No longer just about French fries, McCAIN change their name from McCAIN Australia Pty Ltd, to the all-inclusive McCAIN Foods Aust Pty Ltd. By 1984, McCAIN was dominating the frozen food market, having now purchased the Copper Kettle Vegetable Processing Plant in Smithton, Tasmania. Australia now loved McCAIN, not just their fries, but also their pizzas, potatoes and farm-fresh vegetables plucked straight from the goodness of the earth. But there was more to come. In the same year, McCAIN Dinner Classics burst onto the market, with a range of low calorie, fresh dinners for the whole family to enjoy.

1987 – 1992: An Aussie and Kiwi Favourite

McCAIN gradually begins to welcome its competition, including Chalet Foods, Gold Crest and Milani dinner products, into the McCAIN family. McCAIN is now able to offer a substantial variety of frozen dinners, including its low calorie, Heart Foundation approved, HEALTHY CHOICE range. In 1988, another potato processing plant was built in Smithton, Tasmania, with its cool and clean climate producing the best potatoes yet. In 1990, New Zealand’s Alpine Food Co – a vegetable processing company – was purchased by McCAIN, and two years later so was the Safries potato processing plant of South Australia.

McCain potato processing plant

Potato Processing plant

McCain inital frozen dinner packaging for their Dinner Classics range

McCAIN enters frozen dinner market

1994: When Fresh Comes First

New Zealand now joined the ranks of McCAIN fans from around the world. A potato processing plant was built in Timaru, New Zealand, next door to the existing vegetable plant. With freshness as their number one priority, New Zealand now had local produce from their very own farmland. Two years later, Growers Food – a canning and frozen vegetable processing company of Hastings, New Zealand – joined the McCAIN fresh family.

1995 – 1999: Big Changes

The late ‘90s was a time of great expansion for McCAIN. In 1995, Griff’s Dinners jumped on board, with production under the Griff’s label commencing in February 1996. In 1997, McCAIN truly began to blossom into the huge national organisation it is today. Multi-million dollar upgrades to the original Ballarat French fry plant saw epic leaps in production volumes. Further expansion at the dinner manufacturing plant allowed the creation of a new dinner production line, with the packaging area tripling in size and brand new recycling facilities being added. In 1999, the cold storage area in Ballarat was made over, with new constructions now providing the highest quality temperature conditions to give you the freshest snap-frozen food possible.

2000 – 2010: More Upgrades and Efficiencies

The first decade of the new century has seen the purchase of an additional 8 hectares of land adjoining the current Ballarat site, a new dinner manufacturing plant installed in Hastings, New Zealand, robotics introduced into three of our plants, and substantial upgrades to the vegetable processing plant in Hastings. Not to mention, McCAIN now includes a range of delicious fresh frozen fruits and nutritious frozen sweet potato fries – all confirmations of the continued success of McCAIN.

Potato farming, tractor grating field

Potato farming

2011: McCAIN and our It's All Good Philosophy

Since their humble beginnings in 1968, McCAIN has grown enormously and shows no signs of slowing. The latest in food production technology, plus only the freshest ingredients straight from the goodness of the earth, sees McCAIN remain a firm national favourite. McCAIN maintains an unwavering pledge to ensure the highest quality in sanitation and cleanliness, food safety, ingredient quality and manufacturing integrity. From the farm to your table, McCAIN will continue to deliver delicious, tasty and nutritious produce for years to come.

Ah McCAIN, you’ve done it again…

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