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McCain Foods SA W e're so used to thinking that the great consumer brand names of this world emanate from the United States, that it surprises many people to learn that McCain is in reality a Canadian business. In fact, its links with potatoes- the most important McCain ingredient- go back over one hundred years, when Andrew McCain saw an opportunity to expand his interests beyond farming and selling locally the potatoes he grew, by establishing a seed potato export company. But it was another half century before his sons wanted their own business and one of the brothers suggested the relatively newly formed industry of frozen foods. It was Clarence Birdseye, an American inventor, who in the late 1920s had developed the quick- freezing system. He'd noticed that anything put in the way of cold winds, ice and low temperatures- as found in the Arctic- would freeze almost instantly. Not only that, but by cooling the food rapidly it stopped the formation of large ice crystals which, until then, had been an insurmountable stumbling block which destroyed the cellular structure of the food, rendering it unusable. With just a few rudimentary bits of equipment- an electric fan, brine and blocks of ice- Birdseye perfected the process of flash freezing and the first frozen meat and vegetables went on sale to the public in 1930. Twenty- odd years later and McCain Foods joined the frozen food industry, since which time it has spread January 10 www. bus- ex. com 73 Frozen produced in the world but Jeff Daniels discovers assets