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Avara weighs up Better Chicken Commitment standard

Avara Foods has published its third annual Responsible Business report, highlighting its work around bird welfare outcomes, working conditions and sustainability but remains to be convinced by the raft of Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) standards.
In its annual report, Avara Foods has been monitoring pododermatitis, hock mark and total mortality rates. Photo: Atelier 68
In its annual report, Avara Foods has been monitoring pododermatitis, hock mark and total mortality rates. Photo: Atelier 68

The firm, established in 2018 as a joint venture by Faccenda and Cargill, said it already complies with 4 of the 6 requirements of the BCC. It has been running science-led trials to establish the impact and potential benefits of adopting the Better Chicken Commitment in full – assessing not just the impact on bird welfare but also wider implications for environmental impacts and the potential availability and affordability of healthy chicken protein.

Welfare outcomes

At a high level, the trials have shown marginal improvements in some welfare outcomes but a decline in others, as well as more pronounced impacts on the environmental footprint and cost of production. Avara Foods says the findings are under further review as it looks to continually enhance welfare outcomes.

Other trials that have been taking place include:

  • • On-farm hatching systems
  • • Grain-based pecking blocks for turkeys
  • • Other types of enrichment and how birds interact with them
  • • Water sanitisation solutions
  • • Feed trials – looking at the use of supplements and essential oils to promote health and welfare.

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In its annual report, the company has been monitoring pododermatitis, hock mark and total mortality rates. Pododermatitis and total mortality rates have generally been below industry standards while hock marks have been at or slightly above the average.

Waste policies

Turning to its waste policies, the company formalised its zero waste to landfill approach 16 months ago and is now seeing the benefits through carbon emission reductions.

Focusing on the ways to eliminate plastics it has developed a pouch for fresh chicken portions and new packaging for whole chicken that does away with the tray, reducing plastic use by 51% and greenhouse gas emissions by 58% compared to traditional packaging. Based on current volumes, it expects to remove 450 tonnes of plastic from the shelves after a full year.

The broader business has committed to science-based targets to achieve Net-Zero by 2040 and earlier this year it joined the UK Soy Manifesto.

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Speaking to trade press, Avara Foods CE, Andy Dawkins, said: “Acting responsibly is one of the cornerstones of our business and has become the everyday expectation of the team at Avara. In every aspect of our business, we want to be clear about what we stand for and what anyone working with, or for us, can expect.”

The report can be found Avara-Foods-2021-Responsible-Business-Report.pdf.