The British Poultry Council (BPC) annual conference was centred on the environment, with topics including carbon labelling to IPPC and climate change.
Producers and industry leaders discussed the difficulties in easing differences between the environment and animal welfare policies. An intense food labelling debate took place, following the announcement made by Brian Harding, DEFRA’s head of Food Chain Programme, saying that there were discussions to see how to take carbon labelling forward.
Welfare or the environment?
Attendees at the conference were not supportive of environment labels. BPC chairman, Ted Wright, said that it would be bad news because “â€¦we’re going to have to put even more labels on packages.”
Peter Bradnock, BPC chief executive, questioned which issue would win in the battle of labels in the consumer’s mind – welfare or environment? Harding responded in saying that the driver is EU requirements and it canot be ignored.
Consumers do not need the information
British Goose Producers chairman, Judy Goodman, argued that the poultry sector should stay away from environment labels because consumers did not need the information. What we want is British food for British people at a sensible price for producers,” she stated.
Institute of Grocery Distribution’s head of Policy Initiatives, James Northen, challenged this assertion: â€œThe environment is shooting up the consumer agenda. Welfare is a given so consumers stop thinking about it. The environment is new but this doesn’t mean that welfare has gone away.”
According to research conducted by the Institute of Grocery Distribution, the environment, recycling and fair-trade are the top three most important ethical concerns for consumers. Apparently animal welfare, free-range and organic take the bottom three places.