BPC challenges RSPCA claims on chicken buying habits
The British Poultry Council, representing British
chicken farmers and processors, has challenged the RSPCA's claims that there had
been a huge change in shoppers' buying preferences for
"The RSPCA's conclusion from its own survey is misleading and is not being
reflected in the marketplace. The RSPCA is misrepresenting the good standards
already in place on British chicken farms to promote its own â€œFreedom Foodâ€
brand and is ignoring the fact that the major retailers are already selling
British chickens reared to standards that exceed the â€œFreedom Foodâ€
requirements," said BPC Chief Executive, Peter Bradnock.
According to the BPC, British chickens sold in supermarkets are reared to
rigorous Red Tractor Chicken Assurance standards, which cover both indoor and
free-range chickens. These Standards are owned and managed independently from
the chicken industry, and every farm is inspected at least once every year by
The Red Tractor Assured Chicken Standards are more comprehensive than the
RSPCA â€œFreedom Foodâ€ brand requirements ensuring high levels of farm hygiene and
food safety for consumers, as well as providing a protective environment for the
chickens to be able to express their natural behaviors, says the BPC.
Bradnock added: "The RSPCA's claims about a sudden amazing change in
shoppers' behaviour based on its own survey are not borne out by consumers'
actual buying decisions in supermarkets. Free range chicken sales under Red
Tractor standards had been increasing consistently throughout last year,
long before the Channel 4 celebrity chefs' entertainment programmes screened in
January this year."
January 2008 sales for free range have shown a 35% increase on January 2007
but only an 11% increase on November 2007, showing there was already a
significant growth trend. However, free range chicken sales, at just 6% of total
UK chicken sales are still only a small, albeit growing, part of the national
shoppers' buying preferences, concludes the BPC.
To comment, login here
Or register to be able to comment.