Lidl in Great Britain is introducing a new, UK-first method of production meat label, which will be trialled on all of its fresh chicken products, which is said would improve transparency and help customers to make more informed decisions.
The move by Lidl GB aims to combat consumer confusion about how the fresh chicken they buy was reared, by including details that have not previously been declared by supermarkets on pack.
The level of detail on Lidl’s new fresh chicken labels is similar to that found on egg packaging, with information on the different types of farming systems, including caged and free-range.
The new label, which will feature on all fresh chicken in Lidl GB stores nationwide and will begin to be rolled out from today, will be attached directly to the front of the product packaging, displaying one of the following simple but descriptive and consistent messages:
· Indoor – Birds are reared outside the UK to legal housing requirements
· British Indoor – Birds live in safe, comfortable housing with natural daylight, bales, perches and pecking objects
· British Indoor+ – Birds live in housing with more space to exhibit natural behaviour; with natural daylight and environmental enrichment
· British Free Range – Birds live in safe, comfortable housing with access to the outdoors for a minimum of 8 hours a day
· British Organic – Birds have access to large outdoor ranges, with smaller flock sizes and a GM free diet
Ryan McDonnell, chief commercial officer, said: “To ensure that we are continuing to make good food accessible for all households, it’s important that we offer customers quality meat products that are from a range of different farming systems. In addition to working with trusted partners, to give our customers the confidence that welfare standards are being maintained, we feel it’s important to provide them with very clear, objective information about how the meat was produced to enable them to make an informed purchase decision.
“With method of production labelling having been in place for a number of years on egg packaging, it makes sense to us to apply the same concept to meat products. It’s a topic that has been discussed extensively across the industry and we’re pleased that, through our lean and agile business model, we are in a strong position to be able to conduct this trial for our customers and share our findings to support any future developments.”
Sophie Elwes, Senior Scientific Officer for Farm Animals at the RSPCA, commented: “We are delighted Lidl is taking this step to ensure that labels on their fresh chicken clearly shows the method of production and we applaud them for being the first retailer in Britain to voluntarily do this on chicken.
“This is such an encouraging move as the RSPCA has long campaigned for method of production labelling to be made mandatory on animal products and we hope that other retailers will follow Lidl’s lead.”
Jim Moseley, Red Tractor’s Chief Executive, said: “Ensuring customers have access to British food that is produced to the highest standards of food safety, animal welfare and is fully traceable is our top priority. We welcome any initiative that helps shoppers looking for the trusted Red Tractor label make an informed decision on the food they wish to buy.”
The move follows the success of a similar labelling scheme introduced by Lidl in Germany last year, which has led to wide-scale adoption across the industry**.
In addition to creating more transparency for consumers, Lidl GB is also committing to sourcing all its fresh chicken from the UK farms by October this year. The supermarket already sources two-thirds of its core products in Britain and the retailer is committed to extending this further.