· KFC UK & Ireland is joined by Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden in signing up to the Better Chicken Commitment
· The commitment is a milestone moment in KFC’s ongoing journey to raise their own welfare standards and those across the industry by 2026
United Kingdom, July 12, 2019- Today, KFC UK & Ireland has announced the bold move of becoming the first in its sector to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment, also known as the European Chicken Commitment. Along with KFC Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden, the company has committed to adopt an ambitious set of six criteria that have been designed and championed by leading animal welfare NGOs to improve the lives of all chickens within the KFC supply chain, by 2026.
KFC UK & IRELAND SIGN UP TO THE BETTER CHICKEN COMMITMENT
In a move that demonstrates the importance of the health and sustainability of poultry farming for KFC across Europe, the business will work closely with suppliers and NGOs – including World Animal Protection and Compassion in World Farming – in a combined effort to raise the minimum level of welfare standards across the industry. These requirements include stricter auditing processes, reducing stocking density (giving birds more space in barns), investing in environmental enrichment including perches, pecking objects and natural daylight, and the biggest step – a commitment towards only purchasing slower-growing breeds.
The mission to improve welfare standards is not a new one for KFC UK & Ireland. Since 2003, KFC has had a robust programme, ensuring all KFC chicken from the UK and overseas is reared to Red Tractor farm assured standards, or higher, as well as being one of the few companies that undertake welfare-specific audits through independent experts. More recently, KFC have been working with Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection on a new Chicken Welfare Policy for Western Europe, and has invested in a state-of-the-art software tool that collects data from all their suppliers on a whole host of key chicken welfare metrics, giving best in class transparency and visibility of standards. KFC UK & Ireland has committed to publishing this data with an independent third party that will help the business to continue to drive up standards.
However, the chicken bought by KFC only represents around 4% of the UK chicken market, and combined with Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden, makes up less than 1% of the European poultry market. Whilst this amounts to about 72 million chickens in the supply chain, it is a small proportion of the total amount of chicken that is purchased annually across the sector. As a result, improving the industry’s standard of chicken welfare is not something KFC can solve on its own. By signing the commitment, KFC is calling on the wider industry to join them so more chickens can live healthier and happier lives.
Speaking to reinforce this call to action, Paula MacKenzie, General Manager of KFC UK & Ireland, said: “Signing up to the European Chicken Commitment isn’t just a box-ticking exercise for us, we’re doing this because we truly believe it’s the right thing to do. Chicken is our business and we have a responsibility as the chicken brand, to make sure we’re pushing improvement to chicken welfare standards across our supply chain. Our business depends on the health, sustainability and reputation of chicken farming and, our customers care about improving the lives of the chicken we buy. That’s why we’re adding our voice to the campaign and encouraging others to do the same – because to inspire real change and provoke meaningful action, we need the industry to move with us.”
Compassion’s Director of Food Business,**Dr Tracey Jones**, said: “It is fantastic to see such an iconic chicken brand boldly commit to such significant welfare improvements in their supply. Compassion has been working with KFC for nearly 10 years and we are delighted with their genuine desire to do the right thing, not only for the chickens in their supply, but for a wholescale market shift towards better chicken too.
“No company can lift the welfare of a nations chicken on their own. We hope other companies will take confidence from this commitment and join the growing movement for higher welfare chicken.
“I wholeheartedly congratulate KFC for their commitment and look forward to working with them on the successful implementation of these higher welfare standards.”
Ian Woodhurst, World Animal Protection’s farming campaigns manager, said: “This is fantastic news for chickens in the UK and Ireland and an important first step towards improving the welfare of chickens globally. We hope the other regions and countries where KFC operates will follow suit as quickly as possible.
“We look forward to continuing our work with KFC to improve chicken welfare on all the farms around the world that supply it with chickens, and we will continue to challenge other global fast food companies to follow KFC’s lead and make a change for chickens.”
Vicky Bond, Managing Director of The Humane League UK, said: “We are delighted that KFC is taking the lead and becoming the first fast-food chain to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment in the UK and Ireland. This commitment, coming from the most recognisable chicken brand, will benefit the lives of millions of chickens every year throughout their supply chain. KFC have taken a huge step in supporting the welfare of animals raised for food through making this commitment and we implore the rest of this sector and other food companies to follow in their footsteps.”
KFC’s ongoing focus around animal welfare was recognised earlier this year, helping to move parent company Yum! Foods up two tiers in the 2018 Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare Report.
To find out more about KFC’s current welfare policy and brand new auditing tool, check out: https://www.kfc.co.uk/the-colonels-way/chicken-welfare
Notes to Editor
The Better Chicken Commitment:
The Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) introduces essential changes to broiler chicken systems to meet their basic welfare needs. The six commitments aim to ensure that by 2026 100% of the chicken in the supply chain adhere to the BCC.
Six commitments are as follows:
EU animal welfare laws and regulations, regardless of the country of production
Maximum stocking density of 30kg/m2or less
Adopt slower growing breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes
Adopt controlled atmospheric stunning or effective electrical stunning without live inversion
Third-party auditing and annual public reporting on progress towards commitment
You can read the full wording of the commitment at: https://welfarecommitments.com/europeletter/
KFC’s welfare progress:
· All chickens in UK and Ireland farms have enriched environments including perches, pecking objects and natural daylight. We have stipulated this as a requirement for our British suppliers and are working on increasing this across our Western Europe supply chain
· Every egg we crack in all of our food in the UK & Ireland is Free Range and we have no caged birds in our supply chain
· We have had a welfare programme for 14 years and in 2018 we published our updated Western Europe Animal welfare policy and new Poultry Welfare Standards in partnership with the FAI
· We are one of the few companies that undertake welfare-specific audits through independent experts in farm animal welfare
· All our British chicken is bought to Red Tractor farm assured welfare standards, or higher, but all our chicken wherever it is sourced from also meets those standards
· Establishing an industry-leading welfare reporting tool with the support of leading animal welfare NGOs, that will allow us to monitor welfare standards at 30 suppliers across three continents.
In 1952 Colonel Harland Sanders opened the first KFC restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky. Since then, his perfectly crafted Original Recipe chicken and its secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices has become famous all over the world, and today we have over 900 restaurants across the UK and Ireland.
The Colonel was all about doing things the right way. That means our chicken is delivered fresh from farm to restaurant in 48 hours. It’s prepared carefully by hand in-restaurant by trained cooks, using the very best chicken reared to strict welfare standards. That’s what makes our food so finger lickin’ good.
The right way also means serving fresh proper food, packed with flavour. So we’ve worked hard to make nutritional improvements across our menu so our fans have as much choice as possible, and we’ve committed to removing 20% of calories per serving by 2025.
The Colonel also believed in feeding promise, wherever it’s found. So that’s why we invest heavily in the development and careers of our 24,000 employees – we were the first restaurant to launch an honours degree. And since its 2015 launch, our KFC Foundation has paid out grants totalling £3 million to our charity partners who are passionate about developing and nurturing young people across the country.
To find out more about us visit www.kfc.co.uk, or follow the Colonel on Twitter @KFC_UKI and Instagram @kfc_uki.