British consumers voted with their shopping trolleys and bought more higher welfare chicken and eggs this year despite the fear that the recession would hit sales of higher welfare products. Compassion in World Farming revealed new figures today showing that sales of higher welfare eggs and fresh chicken meat have both continued to increase.
Sales of free range, barn and organic eggs increased to 66.4% of the total spend on eggs in the twelve months to 22 March 2010, compared with 62.2% the year before. This means that the majority of shell eggs sold (52.6% by volume) are now from hens that are free from cages compared with 47.3% in the same period in 2008-9.
Higher welfare fresh chicken meat sales have grown by 22% in the last year whereas sales of standard chicken have remained at only 0.1% year on year.
This sustained growth in higher welfare chicken shows a long term trend of consumer action on chicken welfare following Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Channel 4 TV exposes of modern chicken farming in January 2008 and 2009 and his joint 'Chicken Out' campaign with Compassion in World Farming.
"By choosing higher welfare chicken and eggs, consumers make a real difference to the wellbeing of farm animals. The latest figures should encourage major supermarkets and others in the food industry to continue working towards higher welfare standards. There is a great opportunity for both farmers and retailers to make the most of growing consumer demand for higher welfare chicken and eggs - and this is good news for animal welfare too."
Steve McIvor, Director of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming
The food you choose has a direct effect on how farm animals live.
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Read Compassion CEO, Philip Lymbery's blog article Chickens: progress or slipping backwards?.