Sainsbury’s is improving the animal welfare standards across the fresh chicken products in its own-label line By Sainsbury’s.
The change – which the supermarket says will be complete by March next year – will guarantee that all chickens used for fresh food products in the range will have been reared in 20% more space than the industry standard.
Sainsbury’s said that in addition to the extra space, the change would also see farmers increase stimuli for chickens, allowing them to express more natural behaviours.
The improved welfare standards will be applied over the next 12 months and will affect fresh products across the plain, breaded, cooked, added value, BBQ and hot counter chicken lines.
The supermarket will work closely with suppliers monitor animal behaviour and has said it will report on the progress of the change as part of its annual health and welfare update.
“We care about animal health and welfare as much as our customers do, and we are committed to offering our customers quality and value while ensuring high welfare standards,” Sainsbury’s food commercial director Rhian Bartlett told The Grocer.
She added that the focus on improving welfare would be a core part of the supermarket’s “commitment to helping everyone eat better” and helping consumers make choices that support animal welfare without compromising on affordability.
“It’s important to us that we are helping our customers make healthy and sustainable choices, while maintaining great quality at affordable prices.”
The news comes as fast-food restaurant KFC is facing a public backlash over its ‘misleading’ portrayal of UK chicken farming.