The business said it is “committed to improving the welfare of chickens and is working to transition its European supply chain to meet even higher welfare standards”.
“By 2026, we will require 100% of the fresh, frozen, and processed chicken in our European supply chain to meet the standards of the European Chicken Commitment [see box]. We will be working with our suppliers and the industry at large to achieve this.”
Rafael Oliveira, Kraft Heinz International zone president, said: “Extensive changes such as these require significant investment of time and resources, industry-wide. Kraft Heinz recognizes the complexity of this undertaking and looks forward to collaborating with our suppliers, the food industry and other stakeholders to advance these ambitious goals in a way that is sustainable for our collective businesses.”
The announcement was welcomed by Vicky Bond, managing director of The Humane League UK.
“We are delighted to see Kraft Heinz committing to the European Chicken Commitment for 100% of the chicken in their European supply chain by 2026,” she said. “All Kraft Heinz owned brands such as Heinz, Weight Watchers from Heinz, Honig and Plasmon will be affected by this policy.
“Kraft Heinz joins the rapidly increasing list of companies signing up to the ECC. This commitment will benefit the lives of chickens throughout their supply chain and confirms that, for Kraft Heinz, the welfare of animals raised for food is a high priority. Following on from this commitment to higher welfare chicken, we encourage the rest of the manufacturing sector to swiftly follow suit and join the movement to improving the welfare of animals raised for food.”
Kraft Heinz commitments
Under the European Chicken Commitment, Kraft Heinz hopes to achieve the following:
- Comply with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations, regardless of the country of production.
- Implement a maximum stocking density of 30kg/m2 or less. Thinning is discouraged and if practiced must be limited to one thin per flock.
- Adopt breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes.
- Meet improved environmental standards including:
- At least 50 lux of light, including natural light.
- At least two metres of usable perch space, and two pecking substrates, per 1,000 birds.
- On air quality, the maximum requirements of Annex 2.3 of the EU broiler directive, regardless of stocking density.
- No cages or multi-tier systems.
- Adopt controlled atmospheric stunning using inert gas or multi-phase systems, or effective electrical stunning without live inversion.
- Demonstrate compliance with the above standards via third-party auditing and annual public reporting on progress towards this commitment.