2 Sisters Food Group has now moved more than 20% of its production, amounting to around two million birds per week, to the higher welfare standards set out in the Better Chicken Commitment.
The Group’s poultry operations currently processes more than 10.5m chickens every week in the UK and Europe.
The Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) was created by animal welfare NGOs in 2019 – is a set of six criteria that need to be met by 2026. These include:
Compliance with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations
Not exceeding a stocking density of more than 30kg per m2 – which is 30% more room than ‘standard’ protocols, giving chickens more room to roam
Use higher welfare breeds of chickens that are grown more slowly
Provide an enriched environment for the birds in barns
Birds must be slaughtered using humane methods
All companies must be third-party audited at regular intervals
“This is great news and a testament to all the hard work our farmers, processing operations and commercial teams are putting in,” said Ronald Kers, 2 Sisters’ chief executive. “We want all our chickens to have as happy lives as possible. We’ve listened very closely to our customers – and also consumers – who tell us they want more options when it comes to higher welfare chicken as well.
“We’ll always produce the full range of products, ranging from organic, free range to standard birds, but as the years go by, more and more people are asking for higher welfare birds that are still competitively priced, and that’s what we’re proud to deliver to help feed the nation.”
The poultry operation’s agricultural team have been responsible for implementing the gradual change to higher welfare birds – a process which started more than two years ago across the estate of 60 higher welfare farms in the UK and 177 in Europe.
Agricultural Director Nick Davies said: “This is one of the biggest generational changes for a product offer I can think of in my career. I’m very proud to lead the agriculture team here at 2 Sisters to make all this happen, but it’s also down to the breeders, planners, farmers, processing sites and commercial teams for it to be delivered.
“It’s also fantastic that our customers have supported us through this journey and are now delivering ranges in partnership to their consumers that the now met the latest higher welfare, slower grown commitments, well ahead of when they’ve been asked to be implemented.”