Cranswick top manufacturer for animal welfare

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Animal welfare is the focus of the new report
Animal welfare is the focus of the new report
Food companies and manufacturers are increasingly focusing on animal welfare, driven by customer pressure, the sixth Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) report has revealed.

The benchmarking survey, which ranks companies in six categories, showed that Cranswick was the top manufacturer in tier one, retaining its spot as one of the leaders in the market.

The survey covered 110 global food companies, including 40 food retailers and wholesalers, 40 food producers and 30 restaurants and bars. Companies were assessed for their approach to farm animal welfare in terms of management commitment and policy, governance and policy implementation, leadership and innovation, and performance reporting and impact.

Ranking number two, which categorised animal welfare as being “integral to business strategy”​, were manufacturers and producers including Brazilian-based BRF, US food company Cargill, Greggs and Unilever. They retained their positions within the category.

US chicken producer Perdue Farms entered the listing in the tier this year, while US meat producer JBS and meat supplier Danish Crown moved up the rankings.

‘Established, but work to be done’

Companies in the third category, defined as “established, but work to be done”​ included well-known names such as 2 Sisters Food Group, Arla Foods, Tyson Foods, Vion Food Group, Premier Foods and Nestlé.

The remaining three categories included ​making progress on implementation​, which included Mondelēz; on the business agenda but limited evidence of implementation​, ​which included Associated British Foods and Kraft Heinz; and the ​no evidence that it is on the agenda​ category, which included Mars. 

However, the report said that 41 out of 110 companies still appeared in tiers five and six, indicating that they provided “little or no information on their approach to farm animal welfare”.

In a recent BBFAW survey of the companies covered by the report, 78% of respondents identified customer and client interest as the most important influence on their approaches to farm animal welfare. The survey identified the other important drivers of action as media interest (49%), NGO pressure (46%) and investor pressure (46%).


However, the survey did also reveal some pitfalls in that there was a perceived lack of customer willingness to pay for higher farm animal welfare, the scale of the costs and capital investment required and a general lack of awareness of the wider business and marketing benefits of higher welfare.

BBFAW executive director Nicky Amos said the most significant change relative to the 2016 benchmark was the “dramatically improved performance”​ of foodservice companies.

Amos said: “Our discussions with companies in the sector suggest that this improvement is being driven by increased client and consumer interest in farm animal welfare, and by NGO, media and investor pressure on these companies to make public commitments on specific animal welfare issues – for example on cage-free eggs, on broiler chicken welfare and on reductions in the use of antibiotics.”

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