M&S the first retailer to pledge selling only slower-reared fresh chicken

M&S the first retailer to pledge selling only slower-reared fresh chicken
// M&S to become the first major retailer to move to 100% slower-reared fresh chicken
// The pledge builds on M&S’s existing animal welfare standards
// RSPCA urges other retailers to follow M&S’s lead with its “landmark” commitment to welfare standards

Marks & Spencer is set to become the first major retailer to sell only slower-reared, higher welfare, chicken across its full range of fresh chicken products.

M&S said that from autumn next year, all fresh chicken stocked in its food stores would be slower-reared, British and RSPCA Assured.

The slower-reared birds are fed on a multigrain diet, specifically designed to support their slower natural growth and muscle development, which gives the chicken a better flavour profile and improved succulence.


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Customers can already buy slower-reared chicken at M&S, including whole chickens, portions and chicken breasts, but from next year this standard will apply to all the fresh chicken products it sells.

Both the RSCPA and Compassion in World Farming hailed the move as a “landmark” commitment in animal welfare standards and called on other food retailers to follow M&S’s lead.

“M&S has a long history of leading on animal welfare standards, working with our M&S Select farmers we know and trust,” M&S Food managing director Stuart Machin said.

“We were the first retailer to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment, the first major retailer to move to 100 per cent free range eggs and all our pork is 100 per cent outdoor bred.

“We already have the biggest range of RSPCA Assured products on the market but we constantly want to raise the bar – that is why we are making this industry-leading commitment.

“It will lead to a step-change in UK farming standards and show customers that our determination to maintain the highest welfare standards means they will always get exceptional quality and trusted value at M&S.”

M&S said this “significant investment” will show customers that it does “more to protect the welfare of animals in its supply chain than any other retailer”.

The retailer also said the commitment would feature in its long-running Fresh Market Update TV campaign from July 21.

RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “With its move to RSPCA Assured in this category, M&S has extended its already leading position and can assure its customers that they are buying higher welfare chicken, reared to the RSPCA’s high standards – throughout its entire range.

“It’s a landmark achievement for animal welfare, which we hope will set a leading example for others in the sector.

“By simply switching to using only slower growing breeds of chicken, retailers can make an enormous difference to the lives and welfare of millions of chickens reared in this country every year for their meat.”

Compassion in World Farming food business director Dr Tracey Jones said: “We applaud M&S for being the first retailer to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment, the first to start transitioning supply, and the first to roll out product on shelf with their ‘Oakham Gold’ fresh chicken.

“Making commitments across the entire supply is a major step towards higher welfare chicken becoming a baseline standard, however concrete plans and contracts with suppliers are imperative to move the market forwards. Companies that have made the Better Chicken Commitment must start their transition now and those that are yet to sign up need to get on board.

“M&S are leading the UK market and we urge others to follow suit if we are to succeed in achieving genuine change for chickens.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. good move. 3 million chickens are killed EACH DAY in the UK for the fast food industry. the lack of public concern for their welfare is a scandal. vast majority raised on industrial farms.

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