Sainsbury's Tops for Animal Welfare

UK - Sainsbury's says it has becomes the country's number one supermarket for animal welfare, and sells more Freedom Food-approved chicken than any other retailer.
calendar icon 25 May 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

Sainsbury's has announced that it has become the UK's largest Freedom Food retailer, as it eclipses all other supermarkets in both range and volume sales of higher welfare products.

This year, total Freedom Food sales have hit £143 million, according to Kantar Worldpanel and 60 per cent of Sainsbury's customers have purchased at least one Freedom Food labelled item in the past year.

Sainsbury's sells 62 per cent of all Freedom Food-endorsed food in the UK, and sales have doubled in the past year. This comes despite the tough economic conditions, with customers continuing to seek out value without compromising on their values.

Chicken is regularly the number one best selling product across Sainsbury's stores and the supermarket now sells more Freedom Food chicken than the combined total of all the other retailers.

The announcement comes three years after the launch of a high profile campaign led by Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall aimed at encouraging consumers to eat more welfare friendly reared chicken.

To coincide with the announcement, Jamie Oliver will appear in an advertising campaign for Sainsbury's from tomorrow (26 May) to promote its range of Corn Fed Freedom Food chicken.

Sainsbury's data shows that volume sales of Freedom Food chicken increased by 90 per cent between 2009 and 2010 and it is growing at a faster rate than all other fresh chicken ranges. In 2006, higher welfare chicken represented just 14 per cent of Sainsbury's total chicken sales and this year it is expected to be 25 per cent.

New Mintel research this week revealed that animal welfare is Britain's number one food concern, with almost 40 per cent of British consumers worried about this issue. It is women who are showing the greatest concern, with almost half (46 per cent) of British women expressing concern about this issue, compared to just one-third (34 per cent) of men.

The impact of this growing trend is so significant that Sainsbury's has committed to upgrading the minimum welfare standard of all its fresh chicken to the RSPCA welfare mark over the coming years.

Judith Batchelar, director of Sainsbury's brand, said: "Animal welfare continues to be one of our customers' top concerns. We've acted faster than any other retailer to increase the range and availability of higher welfare products at an affordable price."

Leigh Grant, chief executive of Freedom Food, said: "This news is incredibly encouraging. It is clear farm animal welfare is of paramount importance to more people than ever before. And the fact that Sainsbury's shoppers have stood firm by animal welfare through some of the most difficult economic times only reinforces that it is an issue that is here to stay.

"Our thanks go to Sainsbury's for its continued commitment to Freedom Food and expanding the range, and its customers for increasingly putting welfare at the top of their shopping lists."

Sainsbury's sells 152 Freedom Food products across a range that consists of chicken, turkey, veal, duck, eggs, pork, sausages and salmon. In 2004, it was the first supermarket to introduce Freedom Food-labelled chicken using a slower growing breed.

In 2009, Sainsbury's was awarded the RSPCA Good Business Award for most improved retailer.

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