The welfare of chickens continues to be at the forefront of shoppers' minds, as Sainsbury's report increasing sales of higher welfare chicken.
Sainsbury's, one of the UK's largest supermarkets has announced a 60 per cent growth in higher welfare chicken sales and this week doubled its range to meet the growing demand.
In January 2008 Channel Four aired a series of programmes highlighting the many welfare implications associated with intensive chicken farming including barren and crowded conditions and the suffering caused by fast growth rates. This high profile campaign resulted in an instant increase in the sale of free-range chickens.
Shortly after the programmes, data by G2 Data Dynamics showed how nearly two fifths of consumers were switching to free-range chicken and Sainsbury's latest announcement shows that this trend is continuing seven months later.
Eloise Shavelar, Campaigns Co-ordinator said "This is great news. Despite the issue of the credit crunch, consumers are continuing to make an ethical choice and the welfare of chickens is a concern for shoppers."
Sainsbury's has been taking the lead among supermarkets in advancing the welfare of chickens by this year announcing their move away from stocking the most intensive factory-farmed chickens across its fresh and frozen range and will instead adopt Freedom Food standard or equivalent as the minimum.
Freedom Food standard ensures more space, environmental enrichment such as straw bales and slower-growing birds which are less susceptible to lameness and heart failure. For those consumers not buying free-range, Freedom Food and equivalent provides a cheaper option for higher welfare chicken.
Eloise continued "With consumers leading this change and supermarkets recognising the demand for higher welfare chicken, the lives of millions of animals will be improved."
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