French companies set the bar in this year’s Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards, scooping a number of accolades in the annual competition run by Compassion in World Farming.
Casino Group, which owns more than 9,800 stores in France, won the Best Retailer Innovation Award. Casino partnered with 3 animal welfare NGOs, including Compassion, to launch the very first animal welfare labelling scheme in France, in December 2018.
The scheme has initially been developed for broiler chickens, with the label displaying 4 levels of welfare from standard production to traditional free-range. The label is based on over 200 animal welfare indicators, all verified by third party auditing, covering all phases of an animal’s life: birth, rearing, transport and slaughter.
Casino has supported the launch with in-store marketing and a dedicated website to explain the scheme to consumers, and work is already underway to roll it out to other species in due course.
Matthieu Riche, director de la RSE du groupe Casino, said: “We are delighted to receive the 2019 Best Retailer Innovation Award. Our animal welfare labelling scheme is a collective innovation which has been co-built with 3 NGOs. Together, we have developed a benchmark using 230 criteria to assess the level of animal welfare at all stages of a broiler chickens’ life.
“This award reinforces our ambition to promote animal welfare labelling at a national and a European level, and the scheme is open to all stakeholders.”
French foodservice company Groupe Holder, who own high street brands such as Paul Bakery, for its commitment to source only free-range eggs and egg products by 2022.
Italian firm Chef Express, part of the Cremonini Group, which works across airports, train stations and service areas serving almost 70m customers a year. It has committed to only use cage-free shell eggs and egg products by 2024.
Aldi Italy also received a Good Egg Award for a series of commitments including stopping the sale of quail eggs because of a lack of cage-free supply.
The only retailer to receive a Good Chicken Award in 2019 went to French supermarket chain Monoprix. A past four time winner, the company won this year for its significant commitment to broiler welfare. Building on their policy to phase out fast growing breeds for their own-brand fresh chicken, Monoprix is the first French retailer to sign up to the European Chicken Commitment for their fresh, frozen and processed chickens, and to advance the deadline to meet the criteria for their own-label fresh chicken by 2024.
Norwegian producer Stanges Gardsprodukter also received a Good Chicken Award. All their birds are reared in higher welfare conditions; with more space to live and an enriched environment where the provision of natural light and verandas adds to the space and provides more stimulation; and the use of slower growing breeds ensures the birds are active and healthy.
In a new development, Compassion in World Farming also introduced its first Good Turkey Awards. UK-based Traditional Norfolk Turkey took one of the honours – for their commitment to the highest welfare standards, ensuring birds live in a highly enriched, free range environment.
Mark Gorton, company director, said: “Our ethos is that of commitment to the birds’ welfare ensuring their live is as stress free and natural as possible. We are delighted to be recognised for our working practices and proud of our excellent quality of products.”
Chippindale (Morrisons) took the new Compassion Sustainable Food and Farming Award corporate winner. A free-range egg company that supplies and is also owned by Morrisons, they have partnered with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and require each of their supplying farmers to plant an acre of wildflower meadow for every laying hen range, boosting bee numbers by 55%.
Commenting on the awards, Dr Tracey Jones, Compassion’s Director of Food Business, said there was a shift across the global food industry towards higher welfare due to market forces shaping the way we produce and eat our food.
“While change is being driven by a myriad of stakeholders concerned about the welfare of farm animals and the need to look after our planet, it is the food industry that makes this change a reality,” she added.