The Co-operative has been named “Most Improved Supermarket” at Compassion in World Farming’s annual Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards.
The accolade was presented to the retailer because of its move to convert all of its own-brand fresh pork and sausages to its higher welfare Elmwood standard earlier this year.
The Co-operative worked with a group of specialist British pig farmers to identify issues regarding the welfare of the sows and piglets throughout the farming process. The Elmwood standard includes reduced transport time, increased natural light, straw bedding, environmental enrichments and a healthier diet for the pigs.
The retailer’s move to extend the Elmwood standard to fresh pork followed the conversion of all its fresh own-brand British chicken to Elmwood or above, starting with fresh whole chickens in October 2007.
The Co-operative’s Elmwood British chicken range now also includes own-brand fresh chicken fillets and portions, as well as fresh chicken products including barbecue, breaded, flavoured and ready-to-eat roast and flavoured chicken. In 2010, Elmwood was rolled out to include all own-brand whole turkeys, crowns and fresh plain turkey products – including fillets, steaks, mince and pieces.
The Co-operative also won a Good Dairy Award, partly in recognition of its forthcoming move in August to a dedicated milk producer scheme, whereby some 240 British dairy farmers will receive a support package including a price premium in return for high standards in animal welfare.
Andrew Nicholson, Agricultural Development Manager at The Co-operative Group, commented: “We’re pleased to win these prestigious awards in recognition of the moves we have made over the last twelve months to further improve animal welfare.
“Animal welfare and supporting British farmers are very important to our business, and add to our Co-operative difference. As an organisation owned and shaped by our members, we always strive to shape our business based on our ethical principles. Animal welfare forms an integral part of our Ethical Plan, launched earlier this year.”