The scheme was launched in Denmark three months ago and groups meat into three categories – symbolised by hearts – according to the standard of welfare used in production.
Under the scheme, one heart indicates that the basic requirements of the label have been met – that free-range sows with curly tails benefit from more space and fresh straw. For two hearts, these basic requirements are combined with more space for pigs. And to receive three hearts, pigs should not only have more space, but also access to outdoor areas.
Danish Crown has said consumers are responding well to the scheme already, according to the Danish Agriculture and Food Council.
‘Greatest’ fresh meat innovation
“Consumers have taken to the products in large numbers,” said Jakob Skovgaard, who is responsible for the Danish market at Tulip Food Company. “Our sales of pork carrying the welfare category 1 and 2 label now account for 15% of total sales of fresh meat at Tulip Food Company. Moreover, the Friland label and organic pork are also seeing growth, with overall sales of welfare pork now accounting for 25%.”
Skovgaard went on to heap praise on the scheme. “I would go as far as to describe the scheme the greatest innovation within fresh meat since the launch of organic products.”
Mette Rothmann, sales director at Tulip Food Company, added: “Pork is highly price-sensitive. But now there is a much better opportunity to prioritise animal welfare standards in pork. The initiative is enjoying strong support – also from top restaurants and the new streetfood markets, which welcome our work with pigs.”
The scheme is also being supported by the Dansk Supermarked Group, which comprises Føtex, Bilka, Salling and Netto supermarkets. The group’s purchasing director Jeppe Dahl Jeppesen reported “significantly increased demand for pork produced with higher welfare standards”.