Belgian retail chain Colruyt and its convenience banner, OKay, have rolled out chicken products that align with the requirements of the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) policy.
The BCC, which ensures high and strict criteria in animal welfare, was launched by different NGOs that work towards improving animal welfare in Europe.
In August of last year, Colruyt Lowest Prices and OKay pledged to source broiler chickens that meet animal welfare standards set by the BCC.
As part of the commitment, the retailer has replaced standard chickens with new welfare chickens, which belong to a slower-growing breed approved by the European Chicken Commitment.
The chickens live longer, ranging from 42 to 50 days, and are provided with 40% more space, Colruyt added.
In addition, the chickens get perches and pecking substrates, such as grains and straw bales, to stimulate natural behaviour. The chickens are also 100% Belgian.
‘An Important Next Step’
Guy Elewaut, marketing director at Colruyt Lowest Prices, said, “The offering of the first products of chickens that meet the different BCC criteria is an important next step. That way, we make it easier for our customers to make a sustainable choice in the field of animal welfare.”
New products on Colruyt’s shelves include chicken fillet, tenderloins and drumsticks, while OKay offers two additional products: chicken legs and wings.
Currently, Colruyt Lowest Prices and OKay collaborate with 230 Belgian chicken farms to source products.
Elewaut added, “For our suppliers, it is not always evident to adjust their production methods to the new criteria. Some elements are easy to implement – for instance, the placement of extra straw bales in the broiler houses.
“Others ask for more investments and time – for example, providing daylight in the barn. That is why we handle it step by step and guide our partners in the sustainability process.”