The Kraft Heinz company announced its expansion in animal welfare in its US supply chains on Friday, which includes higher standards for the treatment of broiler chickens.
“When we issued our global animal welfare policy earlier this year, we underscored our commitment to the humane treatment of animals, and said we would prioritize continuous animal welfare improvements throughout our supply chain,” said Michael Mullen, Senior Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs at Kraft Heinz. “Today, we’re delivering on that promise by joining the food industry in an effort to advance the well-being of broiler chickens in our supply.”
The company plans on executing five key improvements with its suppliers, and the industry at large, by the year 2024. It plans on sourcing 100 percent of their chicken via breeds that are approved by Global Animal Partnership (GAP) or by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for improved welfare and quality of life. They will provide the birds with better living environments (including litter and lighting) along with more space for the chickens to perform natural behaviours (a stocking density that is no greater than six pounds per square foot).
Kraft Heinz will also implement a multi-step, controlled-atmosphere processing system and will demonstrate compliance through supplier verification or third-party auditing. The company plans on communicating their progress as part of their regular sustainability reporting as well.
“Extensive changes such as these require significant investment of time and resources, industry-wide. We recognize the complexity of this undertaking and look 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,” adds Mullen.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) also recognizes Kraft Heinz’ commitment and applauds the company for addressing the pressing concerns related to the poultry production industry.
“Kraft Heinz shows yet again that improving animal welfare is a core part of being a successful food company,” said Josh Balk, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection for the HSUS. “We applaud the company for its continued progress.”
Kraft Heinz’ animal welfare announcement comes after many similar announcements by consumer packed goods (CPG) companies. Nestlé USA announced on October 16 that it will be sourcing all broiler chickens from sources that meet a higher standard of welfare by the end of 2024. On October 2, The Campbell Soup Co. also committed to improve the welfare of broiler chickens in its meat supply chain by 2024.