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European companies scoop top poultry welfare awards

Dutch manufacturer Kipster has taken the prestigious Compassion in World Farming Best Marketing Award for developing the 'first carbon neutral egg'.

Their innovative farm has been designed to address animal welfare as well as sustainability concerns, while delivering an affordable product to consumers.

Through their various marketing activities and strong partnership with Lidl, their products have been selling out in-store as consumers buy-in to the notion of purchasing sustainable and welfare-friendly products.

Best Marketing Award went to Kipster, presented to Ruud Zander. Photo:CIWF
Best Marketing Award went to Kipster, presented to Ruud Zander. Photo:CIWF

Carbon neutral eggs

Interconnecting the design of livestock systems with both the animal and environmental needs in mind and ensuring consumer acceptance is key to the success of humane sustainable farming that is fit for the future, said Compassion.

Oliver Wegloop, Kipster managing partner, explained the thinking behind their work: “We want to show the world that animal welfare is definitely a realistic option in combination with environmental friendliness as well as financial feasibility.

“To this end, we developed a new system where sustainability and animal care do not compete. We have the highest ranking (3 stars) regarding animal friendliness from Dierenbescherming, the Dutch animal protection association. Our eggs are carbon neutral; we reduced fine particle emissions to almost zero and we have no land use for feed, because we feed our birds with a diet made from leftovers.”

Innovation

The Best Innovation Award, presented at a special ceremony in Paris this week, went to Germany’s SELEGGT, for their work in helping to address the issue of male chick culling in the egg industry – a practice which affects over 5 billion chicks each year.

SELEGGT has developed an endocringologial method for identifying the sex of hatching eggs before the embryo develops the capacity to feel pain. The male (and unfertilised) eggs can be humanely rejected early on and turned into high-quality feed.

SELEGGT managing director Dr Ludger Breloh said he hoped the impact would be felt on the industry soon: “The scientific work to develop a solution for the issue of male chick culling has been 10 years in the making but we have not developed a prototype adaptable to very large and very small hatcheries and plan to be working in a commercial hatchery in 2019.”

Compassion Best Innovation Award went to SELEGGT. Photo: CIWF
Compassion Best Innovation Award went to SELEGGT. Photo: CIWF

Good Egg awards

Compassion announced there had been 14 Good Egg Awards made this year, which included TGI Fridays for their commitment to only source cage-free eggs for their UK restaurants by 2023. This includes all shell eggs and egg products sourced as ingredients by TGI Fridays UK.

The UK’s fourth largest supermarket Morrisons received a similar award for bringing forward a commitment to stop selling shell eggs from caged systems to 2022 as well as halting use of ingredient eggs from caged hens in their own-brand products by 2025.

Sophie Throup, Morrisons senior corporate affairs manager (agriculture), said: “We have been listening hard to our customers about eggs from caged hens. Animal welfare is one of their top 10 issues of concern and we have responded by making a commitment to sell only shell eggs that are cage free by 2022 and to use only cage-free ingredient eggs in our own-brand products by 2025. We’ve obviously pleased that Compassion in World Farming has recognised this.”

Danone, a world leader in the food industry, has a strong commitment to improve farm animal welfare across its global supply chain. The group has committed to source exclusively cage-free eggs and egg ingredients globally in 2019 and received a Good Egg Award to applaud this decision.

Danone ELN (Early Life Nutrition) was also awarded a Good Chicken Award – one of just 3 this year - for its commitment to improve broiler welfare across their entire European supply chain. The other Good Chicken awards went to USA retailer Blue Apron and manufacturer Diana Foods.

Agnes Baudet, Danone ELN supplier quality and food safety director, said: “Improving animal welfare is one of the key pillars in our sustainability strategy. We work hand in hand with our suppliers and Compassion to gradually improve welfare standards on our farms.”

International food and beverage company Nestle also received a Golden Egg Awards for its decision to set a global goal to source only cage-free shell eggs and eggs used as ingredients by 2025. In Europe and the USA, Nestle will make the transition even earlier, by the end of 2020.

Others to receive Good Egg Awards included coffeehouse chain Starbucks for their commitment to source exclusively cage-free eggs and egg products across Europe by 2020 and Poulehouse, a French company, which is revolutionising egg production by offering “eggs that don’t kill laying hens”. The company only sells organic eggs and do not slaughter spent hens but allow them to live out their lives in fully funded “retirement homes”.

Attitude change to welfare

Commenting on the awards, Dr Tracey Jones, director of food business at Compassion, said: “There has undoubtedly been a sea-change in attitude to farm animal welfare within the last decade. Driven by consumer demand, investor considerations and market forces, more and more companies are making the move towards cage free production and taking steps to tangibly improve the lives of millions of farm animals across the globe.

“Over the last couple of years alone, more than 200 companies in the US have committed to going cage-free before or by 2025 and more than 80 companies have signed up to the higher welfare chicken pledge by 2024.

“We encourage companies to invest in the best and develop systems that are not only fit for purpose to deliver a good quality of life, but are fit for the future too, by meeting the growing demand for more ethical and sustainable food.

Winners – Good Egg Award

  • CAVAC (Manufacturer – France)
  • Danone (Manufacturer – Global)
  • Kipster (Manufacturer – Netherlands)
  • La Boulangerie (Manufacturer – France)
  • LIDL (Retailer – Benelux, France and Italy)
  • Morrisons (Retailer – UK)
  • Nestle SA (Manufacturer – Europe/USA)
  • Poulehouse (Food service – France)
  • Sabbatani (Manufacturer – Italy)
  • Sobedo (Manufacturer – France)
  • Starbucks (Food service – UK)
  • TGI Fridays (Food service – UK)

Good Chicken Welfare Award winners

  • Blue Apron (Retailer – USA)
  • Danone ELN (Manufacturer – Europe)
  • Diana Foods (Manufacturer – USA)

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