'Animal compassionate' meat available soon
The Whole Foods Market, with stores in the US, Canada
and the UK, is preparing to roll out a line of meat labelled 'animal
compassionate', which will flag to consumers that the animals were raised in a
While labels including 'free farmed', 'certified humane', 'cage free', and
'free range' are becoming commonplace, it remains unclear whether they appeal to
a broad market. Consumers must pay up to twice as much for these products.
Ted Taft, marketing director of the Meridian Consulting
says that consumers are prepared to pay more for free range chicken
because it makes them feel good. â€œYou could argue that chicken is chicken,â€ he
said. â€œBut it's something to give [a product] an edge in a tie-breaker.â€
The increase in animal-welfare labels has been driven in part by
animal-rights organisations. The Humane Society of the United States
, for instance, has been
lobbying to end the practice of caging laying hens.
The market for cage-free eggs, which often cost 60 percent more, is growing
rapidly, though neither the US federal government nor United Egg Producers
tracks their share of the market.
Whole Foods has been working on its animal compassionate standards for
three years and plans to unveil its logo in a few months, as soon as auditing
guidelines are established to make sure farmers are following the rules.
But some critics say all the new marketing labels will confuse consumers
who are already struggling to decide between organic and antibiotic-free,
grass-fed and natural.
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