The Co-op Group is among the UK’s top three retailers for sourcing higher welfare produce. The mutual came third in a list of retailers selling RSPCA Assured products.
The ethical food label enables customers to recognise products from animals that have had a better life. The certification is granted after RSPCA assessors inspect the farms and look at various issues related to an animal’s life, such as space, light, bedding, transport and humane slaughter.
There are currently 2,391 RSPCA Assured labelled products, with the Co-op being the third largest retailer of such items (323 different product lines) last year. Sainsbury’s topped the list with a 53.38% share of wholesale value and 899 different product lines.
Aldi is second place with a 15.85% share of wholesales and 346 product lines. The Co-op was third with 10.44% share, followed by Lidl (8.15%), Tesco (6.15%%), and Morrisons (2.74%).
“This news flies in the face of the common misconception that you need to shop and eat in ‘high-end’ supermarkets and restaurants to get higher animal welfare products,” said Clive Brazier of RSPCA Assured.
The Co-op Group also supports animal welfare through the Red Tractor scheme and its own-brand animal welfare standards. In addition, the retailer runs farming Groups including more than 400 farmers who produce fresh meat, poultry and milk. These farmers follow the Farm Animal Welfare Committee’s Five Freedoms from hunger and thirst; discomfort; pain, injury or disease; fear and distress; and freedom to express normal behaviour.
A Co-op spokesman said: “Animal welfare is a priority to us and important to the way we run our business. It’s the Co-op way to look after the animals in our care, within a transparent and monitored supply chain.”
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