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Unilever extends chicken welfare commitments in Europe

News Icon 22/09/2017

Hot on the heels of my recent blog highlighting Knorr’s move to strengthen its global welfare commitments and advancing its chicken standards in North America, I’m delighted to say that they are the very first to announce a similar welfare pledge for chickens in Europe.

By 2024, 100% of the chicken in parent company Unilever’s European supply – mostly used in Knorr products such as soups, sauces and bouillons - will meet the European criteria for higher welfare meat chicken, which incorporates additional welfare measures, primarily around breed change and humane slaughter.

These commitments are phenomenal given they are for ingredients in products – where their power in the supply chain is limited - but it is testament to their ambition and ability to drive sustainable food production forwards.

The power of partnership

Our partnership with Unilever goes back many years and I’m proud of all we have achieved together. In 2008, their leading brand Hellmann’s received a Good Egg Award for their move to sourcing only free-range eggs in their European mayonnaise. This move caused a ripple across the industry as other brands followed suit, enabling a market shift towards cage-free eggs in mayonnaise.

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Hellmann’s went on to extend their cage-free policy in the US – a commitment that was achieved earlier this year ahead of schedule. This one example alone demonstrates the power of the market when forward thinking brands lead the way and act as a catalyst for change. We need more companies like Unilever to take up the charge for farm animal welfare as they have the power and influence to drive change.

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But even large companies can’t do it alone. They need to find supply chain solutions and partners who are willing to help. Food companies need to work closely with farmers and suppliers to ensure that change can happen.

We all have a responsibility to improve the lives of animals and by working with leaders in the market Compassion will continue to create positive change for farm animals around the globe.

Together with all our awards winners, our partnership projects and more recently the groundswell of corporate pledges for higher welfare, more than 1 billion farm animals are set to benefit every year and that’s an amazing achievement.

I congratulate Unilever for being the first company to raise the bar for chickens in Europe. I hope their leadership will encourage other companies to follow suit. More than 50 companies in the US have already made similar commitments and I truly believe that this latest announcement is a signal that a revolution in broiler welfare has arrived on our shores, at long last.


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