Dr Tracey Jones, head of food business at the charity Compassion in World Farming, works with many major manufacturers to drive up welfare standards many of which are subsequently honoured by receiving a Good Egg, Dairy, Chicken or Pig Award.
However, this is often comes at the end of years’ of partnership working between the company and the charity and Jones is keen that firms promote their efforts at the earliest opportunity to drive change across the industry and enhance the charity's profile.
‘Making a difference’
Jones said: “We find some people want to communicate something at the end of their journey with us, when it is safe, opposed to the beginning. It can be frustrating for us because we build our profile through our communication and by companies seeing we are making a difference.”
Some of the players to be recognised by the charity include Moy Park, for its range in conjunction with Jamie Oliver, Premier Foods for its Mr Kipling cakes and Unilever for its Ben and Jerry’s ice cream – and Jones said it was encouraging that many of them were becoming more confident in communicating their efforts at an earlier stage.
“It is very common that some companies are relatively fearful of promoting the good things in case people start asking about what is happening in other parts of the supply chain. However, I think a lot of larger companies are getting better at promoting what they do because they are confident of the breadth and depth behind them.”
This more proactive approach was essential to put animal welfare at the top of consumers’ agenda.
Jones also added that it often brought tangible business benefits, especially for award winners.
‘Clear sales uplift’
“Some people are engaged purely because of the business benefits, and that is fine,” she says. “These awards allow businesses to differentiate themselves in the market, build a competitive advantage and we do see clear sales uplift from award winners.”
“We are always trying to drive our award winners and partnership companies to promote and communicate more because that is the route to the consumer.
“You have to bring the consumer with you and the consumer has to be aware, otherwise it might flop.”