Freedom Food Chicken Sales On The Up

I received an email yesterday on behalf of the RSPCA to thank me for writing about the Quash the Squash campaign last year (and BBQ Source, and People’s Choice!).

They wanted to let me know that thanks to coverage like mine, and despite the recession, people are choosing to buy more RSPCA Freedom Food labelled indoor chicken than ever before, while sales of ‘standard’ chicken have dropped

Freedom Food chicken sales are on the up as ‘standard’ takes a downturn, new research reveals.

New research reveals people are choosing to buy more Freedom Food labelled indoor chicken than ever before, whilst lower welfare ‘standard’ chicken is taking a downturn.

This news comes despite growing unemployment over the past year, showing that people are not prepared to cut corners when it comes to animal welfare.

The research – carried out by Kantar Worldpanel for RSPCA Freedom Food – reveals growth and spend on Freedom Food indoor reared chicken is far outstripping ‘standard’, with a staggering 55.2 million pound increase in consumer spending on Freedom Food labelled chicken (from 16.4 million to 71.6 million) since March last year.

This compares to a drop of more than 26 million pounds spent on ‘standard’ chicken – proof that animal welfare is still on the shopping list of even the most budget-conscious consumers.

This news comes more than two years after chicken welfare hit the headlines with high profile campaigns by Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Leigh Grant, Freedom Food’s chief executive, said:

“We expected to see an increase in sales of Freedom Food chicken after Jamie and Hugh highlighted the benefits of buying higher welfare back in 2008 – but these latest results far exceed anything we could have predicted. They are absolute proof that chicken welfare is of paramount importance to more people than ever before. And the fact shoppers have stood firm by animal welfare through some of the most difficult economic times only reinforces that it is an issue that is here to stay.”

The research shows that Sainsbury’s is the largest retailer of Freedom Food chicken, followed by Tesco and then Morrisons.

The RSPCA want to let everybody know that they are really having an impact on animal welfare when they choose higher welfare chicken, and they want to make it clear that people really do care.  So, they are running a poll asking how you would feel if your supermarket removed your higher welfare chicken option, and what would you do?
You can read more about it and answer the poll here on the RSPCA website.

RSPCA BBQ Source Campaign

This Summer the RSPCA launched the BBQ Source campaign, which focused on making people aware of issues surrounding animal welfare, especially when shopping for meat for the barbecue. The campaign offers help and advice to welfare-conscious consumers who don’t want to forget the ‘source’ of their meat when cooking on the BBQ.

RSPCA BBQ Source Campaign

RSPCA BBQ Source Campaign

As part of the campaign, a survey was conducted and found that 72% of respondent’s buying decisions were price dependent. Many consumers’ view higher welfare meat to be expensive, but the RSPCA’s shopping guide also includes tips on how to shop on a budget. To help show the importance of buying higher welfare meat the RSPCA has developed a shopping guide which provides useful reference guides to food labelling, recipes as well as addressing the key issues surrounding animal welfare, such as growth rates and living conditions of the animals.

“With around 93%  of the population eating meat, we know that people’s buying habits can have a very direct influence on how farm animals reared for meat are raised. That is why we feel it is so important that as many people as possible are informed about and encouraged to choose meat raised to higher welfare standards,” said Mel Andrews, campaign manager for the RSPCA.

“If more people go out of their way to choose or ask for welfare-friendly food such as RSPCA Freedom Food labelled products, more of the 900 plus million animals reared for food each year in the UK will be raised under higher welfare standards,” she added.

“Price can sometimes be seen as a barrier when buying higher welfare meat, and this is where the RSPCA’s online shopping guide can come in handy,” adds Andrews. ” You can still save money when buying higher welfare meat by preparing the food yourself, getting the portions right and using up leftovers for another meal the next day.”

According to the government funded ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign which sets out to encourage shoppers to make the most of the food they buy, and waste less of it, in the UK we throw away the equivalent of 33 million chickens and 3 million pigs per year. This is a waste of money and animals’ lives.

The  ‘BBQ Source’ RSPCA campaign website provides:

  • lots of barbecue-related hints and tips,
  • a shopping guide with information on what labels to look out for when choosing higher welfare,
  • price comparisons,
  • ideas on how to use leftovers,
  • a portion calendar to help cut down on food waste,
  • information on the key welfare issues affecting farm animals.

Next time you are planning a BBQ, checkout the ‘BBQ Source’ RSPCA campaign website.

People’s Choice Supermarket Award – RSPCA Good Business Awards 2009

I received an email on behalf of the RSPCA about encouraging supermarkets to do more for animal welfare.

For the first time ever, the RSPCA Good Business Awards is open to the public through the People’s Choice Supermarket award which means that people can vote for the supermarket they think is doing the most for animal welfare.

The RSPCA has short-listed three stores that have achieved the highest welfare standards in the past year, and now  the RSPCA would like the public to pick a winner.

Three supermarkets have made it through to the shortlist:

  • Marks & Spencer,
  • Sainsbury’s and
  • the Co-operative.
  • Further information on each of the stores achievements is available at RSPCA Peoples Choice.

    By casting a vote you will be encouraging all supermarkets to follow suit and raise their standards. So a vote for your favourite is really a vote on behalf of farm animals everywhere (they’ve not quite got the hang of online voting yet!)

    Voting closes on September 11th, and the winner will be announced in October, so get voting today by going to RSPCA Peoples Choice.