Animal welfare captivates large food firms

By Gary Scattergood contact

- Last updated on GMT

Jones: engaging in good welfare has business benefits
Jones: engaging in good welfare has business benefits

Related tags: Communication

Large food manufacturers are slowly getting better at promoting the higher animal welfare standards they are adopting, overcoming fears that it will open up other practices and the rest of their supply chains to enhanced scrutiny.

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.”

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2 comments

Good news!

Posted by Jennifer Christiano,

Driving up welfare standards is an excellent development for business, animals and consumers alike. Earl Butz's admonition to "get big or get out" - his move to destroy the independent family farmer - has had horrific consequences for animal welfare, food safety, consumers, farmers and the environment. Improving animal welfare standards is one avenue to start righting an ag system that is dangerously dysfunctional and out of control. For more information on humane handling standards and seals of approval, contact the Humane Society of the US and inquire about their Humane Certification program, or talk to the meat department employees at your local Whole Foods (if you have one). Compassion in World Farming, Mercy for Animals and the Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) can also supply valuable information on making humane choices. Oh, and don't forget to eat at Chipotle Grill!

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Details please!

Posted by Lori Campbell,

I read this post several times trying to find some salient details. Lots of vague references, e.g. "drive up welfare standards" (what might those be?) "promote and communicate more" (more what?); recognizing specific companies but not saying why/what their efforts were. Very confusing to find the value in this article sad to say.

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