Production levels of higher welfare poultry grow in UK

26-10 | |
More than 20% of the chickens produced by the UK’s largest poultry meat producer, 2 Sisters, now meet the 2026 Better Chicken Commitment. Photo: Tarikul Raana
More than 20% of the chickens produced by the UK’s largest poultry meat producer, 2 Sisters, now meet the 2026 Better Chicken Commitment. Photo: Tarikul Raana

Animal welfare groups have welcomed an announcement by the UK’s largest poultry meat producer, 2 Sisters, that a fifth of its birds are now produced to higher welfare standards.

The company, which produces 10.5 million chickens a week, says more than 20% of its birds now meet the 2026 Better Chicken Commitment – more than any other period in is history. 2 Sisters is now a lead partner for Marks and Spencer’s Oakham Gold chicken range and is a member of RSPCA Assured.

Mike Baker, CEO of RSPCA Assured, welcomed the announcement saying the company was “working closely with us to drive chicken welfare forward and increase the availability of higher welfare options. We look forward to working with them as they continue to grow their RSPCA Assured offering.”

The higher welfare birds must meet the BCC’s set of 6 criteria, which are:

  • Compliance with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations.
  • Not exceeding a stocking density of more than 30kg per sqm, which is 30% more room than “standard” protocols, giving birds more room to roam.
  • Use higher welfare breeds of chicken that grow more slowly.
  • Provide an enriched environment for the birds in barns.
  • Birds must be slaughtered using humane methods.
  • All companies must be third-party audited at regular intervals.

Nick Davies, 2 Sisters agricultural director, added: “This is one of the biggest generational changes for a product offer I can think of in my career. I’m very proud to lead the agriculture team here at 2 Sisters to make this happen, but it’s also down to the breeders, planners, farmers, processing sites and commercial teams for it to be delivered.”

Ronald Kers, CEO 2 Sisters, said consumers and customers had told the company they wanted more options when it came to higher welfare chicken: “We’ll always produce the full range of products, ranging from organic, free-range to standard birds, but as the years go by, more and more people are asking for higher welfare birds that are still competitively priced, and that’s what we’re proud to deliver to help feed the nation.”

The process has taken 2 years and is across its estate of 60 higher welfare farms in the UK and 177 in Europe, in the Netherlands and Poland.

Mcdougal
Tony Mcdougal Freelance Journalist
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