First European ChickenTrack report launched
Our first ever European ChickenTrack report released today (26 April) shows that while some companies have made significant progress towards meeting the higher welfare requirements of the Better Chicken Commitment, many still have a long way to go.
The new annual report measures the progress of more than 60 European and UK companies towards meeting their Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), and will continue to track their progress each year.
The BCC is a pledge made by companies to give chickens raised for meat better lives by improving their welfare, including giving them more space to live, enrichment and natural light, and by using slower growing breeds.
This report covers 73 commitments made by 60 companies in the following sectors: Retail, Meal Kit/Meat Box, Manufacturer, Food Service & Hospitality, and Restaurant.
Over 350 companies in Europe and the UK have signed up to the BCC to date, including retailers like Auchan and Group Casino in France, as well as restaurants like Greggs and Papa Johns in the UK.
More must be done
Across Europe, the report found that 31 commitments from 27 companies (42%) have made progress towards meeting the higher welfare standards of the Better Chicken Commitment. However, more than half of the commitments (42) from 37 companies (58%) are not reporting any progress at all.
In 2020, there were 6.4 billion broiler chickens reared in the UK and Europe. Sadly, only 8% were raised in systems with the highest welfare standards. Poland, UK, Spain, France and Italy are the top five producing countries, supplying 4.3 billion chickens. Poland leads the field, supplying one fifth of EU chicken meat production – 1.12 billion chickens.
Of all the companies tracked, Only Norwegian producer Norsk Kylling was found to be 100% compliant of the Better Chicken Commitment across its entire chicken production.
While it is encouraging to see some progress from companies being made despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and the bird flu crisis, it is crucial that companies do more to improve the welfare of their chickens to meet the Better Chicken Commitment’s 2026 deadline.
A priority for all food companies
Dr Tracey Jones, our Global Director for Food Business, said: “Higher welfare chicken should be a priority for all food companies. Chickens are sentient beings and deserve a good quality of life as well as a humane end. By using more robust breeds and providing them with better living conditions they can live longer, healthier and more fulfilled lives. It is possible and it is what consumers expect.
“When decisive commitments are taken with collective effort, alongside responsible investment, determined implementation and proactive marketing, these higher welfare standards are not only commercially viable but transformational for the whole sector.”
In France, since September 2021, all the major French retailers have signed up to the BCC, creating a dynamic impetus in the market. We urge consumers to support those companies that have signed up and to demand higher welfare chicken from those that have not yet made the pledge to make higher welfare chicken the industry norm.
Read more about our Food Business work.