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McCain stands tall in Australia.

McCain Foods (Aust) Pty. Ltd. operates very successfully in both the retail grocery and the foodservice markets, and has done so for just over 30 years. This achievement has been built on a winning combination of product innovation, an adaptability to meet ever-changing consumer demands, aggressive marketing campaigns, plus continual re-investment in plant expansions and machinery upgrades.

In the frozen retail grocery sector in Australia, McCain sells potatoes, vegetables, dinners and pizza products, and is now the largest overall supplier to freezer cabinets. Yet it operates in just four out of ten defined categories of the frozen food department.

In all four of these segments, McCain Foods (Aust) Pty. Ltd. is the market leader. Almost year-round television advertising reinforces the name as a quality, value-for-money brand.

The strength of McCain Foods' research and development team and marketing arm enables it to respond to consumer demands very quickly.

As is the case in most of the world these days, Australians are living more hectic lifestyles and want high quality, quick, healthy-eating food choices available in their supermarkets. That's just what McCain delivers.

Master of Potato Products

Having been market leader in frozen potatoes now for several years, McCain Foods boasts the category's top seller: Crunchy Potato Wedges. Following the unqualified success of the McCain Smiles product in many other countries, the kids-friendly item was launched in Australia during August of 2002. A television advertising campaign supported its introduction.

In a bid to further grow potato business opportunities beyond french fries, the company recently launched a range of three Oven Roast Potatoes in 1kg bags. Early indications are that the line will strongly increase McCain Foods' share of the Potato Specialties segment.

Health has become an increasingly important issue for many Australians. In response to this trend, McCain has expanded its range of Healthy Choice potato products, specifically the Chunky Cut variety, with much success.

Growing Vegetable Sales

McCain Foods is neck and neck with a competitor for market leadership in the frozen vegetable category, having steadily increased share in recent years. Vegetables make up the second largest category in the freezer case after ice cream in Australia, so this is a significant market for McCain.

Staple products such as peas, beans and corn account for the largest segment, with a combined share of over 70%. However, the growth opportunities have been in the value-added area, where McCain Foods continually refreshes its range of stir-fry and baby vegetables in an effort to grow market share even more.

In conjunction with the Roast Potato introduction, a range of Roast Vegetables in 1kg foil trays was launched. Both ranges, which oven cook in 30 minutes, offer consumers the convenience of enjoying roast potatoes and vegetables without the fuss of preparing traditional roast dinners.

Rising Business in Premium Pizza

McCain has dominated the frozen pizza category now for many years, with a market share of around 60%. Despite strong positioning, the company continues to bring out new products designed to further expand the business. Apart from variety/line extensions, the most recent launch was Thin Crust Pizza. It was introduced under the "Pizza Perfection" banner to strengthen the premium end of the market.

Frozen dinners represent a very competitive sector, with several key players on the scene. It is the third largest category in the freezer, and has experienced phenomenal market growth over the past several years. Key to this was the launch of meals in bowls, which now account for over 30% of total sales of frozen dinners in Australia.

McCain Foods has maintained its share of the market not only through menu refreshment, but also by launching new recipes to satisfy consumer demand. Innovative products include a range of 97% fat-free Healthy Choice Bowls in late 2001, followed by a line of McCain brand bowls in mid-2002. The company currently manufactures over 20 meals in bowls, and both ranges have firmly established themselves in the marketplace.

Other products in the frozen dinners sector include healthy/low calorie, traditional roast meals, Asian and Italian meals, plus a bargain-priced range.

McCain Foods has been equally successful in the Australian foodservice sector with products specifically formulated for this market available in all of four categories. The company's major strength is in the french fry segment, where it serves major fast food chains. A wide range of cuts, quality and versatility is offered to meet the demands of operators and consumers.

The Freeze Chill range has been a big hit. End users who have limited freezer space, or who wish to take advantage of their combined chiller and freezer space, are reaping benefits of the McCain Freeze Chill line which allows for fast frying from a thawed state--or even straight from the chiller--to ensure prompt preparation and fast service.

Australians are known to "love a beer," so it should not come as a surprise that another successful product for McCain Foods has been Beer Batter Fries. Recently the line was extended with the introduction of Beer Batter Wedges.

The company has a considerable presence in the school foodservice market, where an assortment of single-serve pizzas are popular, as are potato specialty lines. A dedicated team of part-time school sales representatives has worked hard to grow this market.

McCain Foods has manufacturing operations in three plants in Australia. The main processing center is in Ballarat, Victoria, where french fries, potato specialty items, pizzas and dinners are produced. A second potato processing plant exists in Smithton, Tasmania. Vegetable products are processed there as well.

Safries Pty. Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of McCain Foods (Aust) Pty. Ltd. and has a potato processing plant in Penola, South Australia. Its products are sold exclusively to the foodservice market.

Integral to the success of McCain Foods in Australia has been its continual investments made to expand and modernize manufacturing facilities. Significant investments made recently include:

* A $28 million expansion of the prepared foods plant in Ballarat during early 2002, which greatly increased volume capacity and reduced manufacturing costs.

* A $4 million capital works improvement in early 2004 to the Ballarat fry line, which included installation of a belt blancher to improve recovery.

* $7 million spent at the vegetable and potato processing plant in Smithton. Installation of a new freezer tunnel was part of the project.

McCAIN FOODS (Aust) Pty. Ltd.

* Ballarat, Victoria Products: frozen french fries and potato specialties, frozen pizza items, frozen entrees and dinners

* Smithton, Tasmania Products: frozen vegetables and french fries

SUBSIDIARY Safries Pty. Ltd., Penola Products: frozen french fries
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Title Annotation:Asia Pacific
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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