Lidl will start switching from regular chicken to slower-growing chicken with higher welfare criteria in Belgium next year. Lidl wants to be fully converted to the ‘Better Chicken Commitment’ (BCC) for chicken meat in Belgium and Luxembourg by 2026, but will apply the higher welfare criteria to part of its current range of fresh chicken products from next year.
The BCC label aims to increase the animal welfare of broilers on Belgian broiler farms. The broilers get more space and natural daylight and they switch to a slower growing breed.
“We have been working on making our offer more sustainable for some time now and, after our pork and fish, we also want to take our responsibility as the market leader in chicken,” says Lidl Belgium spokeswoman Isabelle Colbrandt.
The Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) is an initiative of some thirty animal organizations, including GAIA. Chickens that meet the BCC criteria will have a better quality of life. For example, a slower growing chicken breed is chosen, each chicken gets forty percent more space, natural daylight and straw bales and perches are provided to stimulate natural behaviour.
To meet these new welfare criteria, broiler farmers need to invest. The supermarket chain will therefore support the investment with its suppliers by paying a correct price based on the new standards, Lidl Belgium reports.
“Behind the scenes discussions with our suppliers have been going on for some time now and we have been working on the plans for this changeover”, says Lidl Belgium spokeswoman Isabelle Colbrandt. “After all, these measures are necessary to improve the welfare of chickens. We not only want a better life for the chickens and a fair price for the suppliers, but we also want to give consumers transparency through a clear label on the packaging that will distinguish these references from the standard chicken. In any case, we are pleased that there is movement in the sector and that other retailers have already indicated that they want to raise the bar.”
“We welcome Lidl’s decision to step – by-step switch to The Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) for all frozen and fresh chicken products of its own brand by 2026. A commitment not to be underestimated. Because in this way, the chain of supermarkets contributes to a better life for significant numbers of chickens. GAIA really hopes that retailers who have not yet committed themselves will soon follow the example” – says GAIA director Ann de Greef in a response.
Lidl Belgium says it has been making its meat supply more sustainable for a number of years. In addition, Lidl Belgium continues to innovate in alternatives to meat. This year the supermarket chain expanded its range of vegetarian and vegan products with numerous new products, giving the customer a choice between more than thirty different vegetarian and vegan products such as different burgers, balls, minced meat and wok strips.
Also Colruyt lowest prices and OKay switch to slower growing broilers around 2026 that meet the higher animal welfare criteria, based on the European Better Chicken Commitment (BCC). They announced it in mid-August.