Dutch retailer Albert Heijn is aiming to make its chicken production chain more sustainable, with the development of the Beter voor Kip, Natuur & Boer programme in association with poultry processing company Plukon Food Group.
The collaboration will see the creation of a healthy revenue model with a purchase guarantee and a minimum income commitment.
The retailer added that 200 poultry farmers were recently informed about the concrete steps in the programme and what it means for them.
Albert Heijn and Plukon have developed the programme along with a group of seven poultry farmers.
Chicken - 1-Star Beter Leven Keurmerk
In 2022, most of the Albert Heijn range will feature the 1-star Beter Leven Keurmerk.
All chicken SKUs – in addition to chicken with the 2- and 3-star Beter Leven Keurmerk offered by the supermarket – will be at least free-range chicken with the 1-star Beter Leven Keurmerk from 2023.
The chickens used in the range are of a slow-growing breed, which live longer and get more living space in stables with covered outdoor areas and natural daylight.
The programme for monitoring chickens for health and welfare aspects will also be further expanded, the retailer added.
Nature - Sustainability
The programme will also ensure the implementation of more measures to promote sustainable business operations across 200 permanent poultry farms.
These include, among others, generating electricity at farms with the aim to make farmers 100% self-sufficient in meeting their electricity needs from 2025, via solar panels or wind power.
Work is also being undertaken to ensure the 100% known origin of all feed components and the sustainability of protein in the chicken feed, Albert Heijn added.
In addition, a CO2 reduction trajectory will be launched with the aim of at least a 15% reduction in 2030 (compared to 2018), as well as plans to reduce emissions of particulate matter and ammonia throughout the entire chain by 50%.
Farmer - Earnings Model
Albert Heijn and Plukon Food Group have developed a model in which a minimum income is guaranteed for farmers.
In addition, a purchase guarantee applies to poultry farmers and certainty of sales for at least five years, during which the poultry farmers produce exclusively for this chain.
Additional investments for the benefit of the programme are also reimbursed, the retailer added.
The chain partners consider the Beter voor Kip, Natuur & Boer programme a positive development and are looking forward to more intensive cooperation.
“For us as poultry farmers, it is a unique opportunity to produce for the Dutch market and to participate in a program that really takes steps forward in terms of sustainability,” said poultry farmer Pieter Winter, who expressed his enthusiasm and participation in the programme.