How McCain responds to changes in the external environment
A McCain Foods case study

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Page 3: Legal factors

Responsible businesses not only abide by the law, they seek to create standards above minimum requirements.

Food labelling

a typical food labelMcCain has to be aware of a number of legal factors. The government's Food Standards Agency has recommended that firms put 'traffic light' labels on food to help people understand what they are buying and to help them make the right choices:

  • Red represents high levels of ingredients such as fats and salts.
  • Green represents low levels.

McCain has put 'traffic light' labels on its British products as a response to consumer concerns about healthy eating. All of McCain's potato products are able to display the green label for saturated fat and none of its products show a red label.

Also featured on the labels are Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) which show how much fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt each product contains. This helps the consumer to achieve a consistently balanced diet.


In the UK, advertising of products is supervised by a voluntary body within the advertising industry. It is called the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

McCain makes sure that all its advertising sticks rigidly within the requirements of the ASA. The ASA sets out that all adverts must be:

  • legal
  • decent
  • honest and
  • truthful.


McCain takes these responsibilities very seriously. It is important to build a reputation for honesty and fair play.

In addition McCain's products comply with a range of laws, including:

  • The Food Safety Act, covering the way in which food is prepared and served.
  • The Trades Descriptions Act, which states that goods and services must be exactly as described.
  • The Weights and Measures Act governing such aspects as giving the right weight on packs. For example, McCain's oven chips come in packs of 454g, 907g, 1kg, 1.5kg, and 1.8kg.

McCain Foods | How McCain responds to changes in the external environment