In supermarkets Colruyt, OKay and Delhaize, the so-called floppy chicken will no longer be sold by 2026. Major supermarket chains promised this in a press release on Monday.
With their announcement on Monday, Corluyt and Okay were the first supermarket chains in our country to stop selling broiler chicken. Delhaize joined quickly. In the Netherlands, all major supermarket chains have agreed not to sell fresh broiler chickens by the end of 2023.
Broiler chicken is a broiler chicken that reaches a weight of two kilograms in just six weeks. All this time, animals do not see the light of day and live close to each other, which often leads to health problems.
Colruyt and OKay want to switch to broiler chickens that meet higher animal welfare standards, based on Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), within a few years at the latest. Announcing Monday. Standard chicken still sold in the butcher’s store and in the frozen section under the Boni Selection brand name falls into the “broiler” category.
Later in the day, Delhaize joined. “We’ve been working on this for some time and have discussions with our suppliers about it,” Declver confirms. Delhaize wants to use the same standards as BCC. A shot across the competition arc now speeds up communication. “Chicken is a very popular product, and with this announcement we can make a difference in animal welfare.”
The aim of these BCC standards is to increase the welfare of animals on chicken farms: the animals get about half the space and daylight gets into the stables. A slower-growing variety is also selected. As a result, chickens live not an average of 42 days, but from 49 to 52 days. The natural behavior of chickens is also mimicked using perches and hay bales.
In addition, supermarket chains are obliged to give birth to chicks in the barn, so that they are not transported in stressful conditions. Chicks also have immediate access to food and water, so they are healthier and need fewer antibiotics.
All standard chicken sold at the butcher or frozen food division of Colruyt and OKay, which accounts for three-quarters of total chicken volume, will meet this BCC label by 2026. Colruyt also wants to continue to ensure the lowest price guarantee, which means a serious investment, the spokeswoman explains. In the name of Eva Biltereyst. Delhaize says “standard chicken” accounts for 80 percent of sales.
The transition to more animal welfare will occur gradually, and more slowly than in the Netherlands. “Colruyt wants to roll out the strictest animal welfare standards with suppliers, step-by-step,” a chain spokeswoman says. After all, it is not easy for suppliers to adapt their production methods to new standards. Sometimes expensive investments are necessary, for example in the structure of chicken coops. The Colruyt group works with more than 230 Belgian nurseries.
It’s still a long way from 2026, a Delhaize spokesperson admits, but stricter animal welfare standards often mean big investments for nurseries. We want to provide transparency to the sector. We also want to make the product more accessible to the consumer. Delhaize has 840 stores in our country. In terms of chicken meat suppliers, the supermarket chain works with nurseries other than Colruyt or OKay.
Animal welfare organization Gaia will respond enthusiastically to Colruyt and OKay’s announcement on Monday. Gaya talks about “the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for so long”. Animal Welfare is calling on other major supermarket chains in our country to quickly follow Colruyt’s example.
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