Lidl GB announces new labelling for poultry to improve transparency

The trial will be introduced across Lidl’s fresh chicken products, after research showed that the majority of shoppers want retailers to be more transparent about how the fresh chicken they buy was reared.
calendar icon 7 June 2019
clock icon 5 minute read

Lidl GB is introducing a new UK-first method of production meat label, which will be trialled on all of its fresh chicken products, improving transparency and helping customers to make more informed decisions.

When it comes to fresh chicken, insight from the supermarket shows that shoppers want more detailed labelling, with 71 percent demanding that retailers become more transparent with the information displayed on packaging. The move by Lidl GB therefore aims to combat consumer confusion about how the fresh chicken they buy was reared, by including details that have not previously been declared by supermarkets on pack.

The level of detail on Lidl’s new fresh chicken labels is similar to that found on egg packaging, with information on the different types of farming systems, including caged and free-range. Research shows that consumers find this type of labelling to be very informative, with two-thirds of Brits saying that egg packaging is detailed and transparent, helping them understand how the chickens laying them were kept.

The new label, which will feature on all fresh chicken in Lidl GB stores nationwide and will begin to be rolled out, will be attached directly to the front of the product packaging, displaying one of the following simple, but descriptive and consistent messages:

Indoor: Birds are reared outside the UK to legal housing requirements

British Indoor: Birds live in safe, comfortable housing with natural daylight, bales, perches and pecking objects

British Indoor: Birds live in housing with more space to exhibit natural behaviour; with natural daylight and environmental enrichment

British Free Range: Birds live in safe, comfortable housing with access to the outdoors for a minimum of 8 hours a day

British Organic: Birds have access to large outdoor ranges, with smaller flock sizes and a GM free diet

Ryan McDonnell, Chief Commercial Officer, commented: “To ensure that we are continuing to make good food accessible for all households, it’s important that we offer customers quality meat products that are from a range of different farming systems. In addition to working with trusted partners, to give our customers the confidence that welfare standards are being maintained, we feel it’s important to provide them with very clear, objective information about how the meat was produced to enable them to make an informed purchase decision.

“With method of production labelling having been in place for a number of years on egg packaging, it makes sense to us to apply the same concept to meat products. It’s a topic that has been discussed extensively across the industry and we’re pleased that, through our lean and agile business model, we are in a strong position to be able to conduct this trial for our customers and share our findings to support any future developments.”

Sophie Elwes, Senior Scientific Officer for Farm Animals at the RSPCA, commented:

“We are delighted Lidl are taking this step to ensure that labels on their fresh chicken clearly shows the method of production and we applaud them for being the first retailer in Britain to voluntarily do this on chicken.

“Lidl customers will now be able to make an informed choice about the chicken they buy and we hope it will lead to more people buying higher welfare options in the same way that sales of cage-free eggs increased when they were labelled in this way. This step will establish a labelling system that benefits chickens, farmers and customers.

“This is such an encouraging move as the RSPCA has long campaigned for method of production labelling to be made mandatory on animal products and we hope that other retailers will follow Lidl’s lead.”

Dr Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming says: “Lidl’s voluntary labelling scheme is all about transparency – labelling standard production as well as a variety of higher welfare options. It will undoubtedly make it easier for consumers to make higher welfare choices when they are out shopping and support those farmers that are committed to higher welfare production.”

Jim Moseley, Red Tractor’s Chief Executive said: “Ensuring customers have access to British food that is produced to the highest standards of food safety, animal welfare and is fully traceable is our top priority. We welcome any initiative that helps shoppers looking for the trusted Red Tractor label, make an informed decision on the food they wish to buy.”

The move follows the success of a similar labelling scheme introduced by Lidl in Germany last year, which has led to wide-scale adoption across the industry.

In addition to creating more transparency for consumers, Lidl GB is also committing to sourcing all its fresh chicken from the UK farms by October this year. The supermarket already sources two-thirds of its core products in Britain and the retailer is committed to extending this further.

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