Colruyt launches new welfare chicken chain with 17 Belgian breeders
Unique in Belgium: all 17 breeders will apply NestBorn technology
Monday, October 17, 2022
Colruyt launches the first welfare chicken products from a new chain. To this end, Colruyt is working exclusively with 17 Belgian breeders, by setting up a completely new chain: from egg to plate. The welfare chickens raised in the chain meet higher animal welfare standards, such as a slower-growing breed and more space in the barn, while investments are also made in daylight and perches. Besides, the NestBorn technique is applied, which promotes the health of chickens. Specifically, new products will appear on the shelves at Colruyt Lowest Prices and OKay. An important step in Colruyt's engagement to improving animal welfare for broiler chickens and working directly with Belgian farmers.
Belgian chain with 17 breeders
Sustainability is in Colruyt's DNA and the topic is high on the agenda. Today, the retailer is taking a big step towards more animal welfare for broiler chickens. Saskia De Block, responsible for agriculture at Colruyt Group: “We have noticed that our customers are increasingly looking for ways to make a contribution, by making more sustainable choices and certainly also in terms of animal welfare. In June, we started to introduce chicken products that meet better welfare criteria and now we are taking this one step further by setting up a completely new chain for welfare chickens. This way, we ensure that customers can choose even more products derived from welfare chickens, making it easier to make a sustainable choice."
Colruyt is now launching a new cooperation chain with 17 Belgian breeders, who will raise chickens exclusively for Colruyt Group. These breeders will raise the new welfare chicken. The chickens are of a slower growing race, live longer and have 40% more space. Also, the chickens are given perches and pecking substrates (grains, straw bales). In this way, the natural behaviour of the chickens is stimulated. Investments are also made to provide in daylight in the barns. The chickens are 100% Belgian.
Delphine Tasiaux of Agri Furfooz in Dinant: "Colruyt has made a commitment last year to make sure standard chicken meet higher animal welfare standards by 2026. As a breeder, I can only applaud this: we work with our animals every day and therefore we think it is extremely important that they have a better life. In fact, we also feel that people are more concerned with the origin of the chicken on their plates, and as a breeder we want to meet that demand too. For us, it's simple: less, but better. We are therefore proud to raise the new welfare chicken, in direct cooperation with Colruyt.”
The direct cooperation with the 17 growers is also in line with Colruyt Group's ambition to work more directly with Belgian farmers.
Born in the barn via NestBorn technology
The 17 growers collaborating with Colruyt will all use NestBorn technology. This unique step is made possible thanks to the direct cooperation between Colruyt and the chicken breeders.
Bart Vermeiren of Belgabroed, the company behind NestBorn technology, said: “We are grateful and honoured to be a partner in the new chain that will be responsible for producing Colruyt's welfare chicken, which meets higher animal welfare criteria. Colruyt goes a step further and is the first Belgian retailer to opt for the NestBorn technique: a pioneering Belgian innovation with a worldwide impact. The NestBorn technique means that the eggs are laid in the barn and the chicks hatch there. This means the chicks are spared transport to the barn and have immediate access to feed and water. This method has many advantages in terms of animal welfare: the chicks experience less stress (because there is no transport of day-old chicks), they can immediately start their natural rhythm of eating and drinking after hatching and this ensures better health, and therefore a more vital and robust chicken. It also significantly reduces the use of antibiotics."
Growing range of welfare chicken products
Last year, Colruyt committed to making its range of fresh standard chicken meet higher welfare standards by 2026. An ambitious step, as the entire chain has to follow along. Major steps were already taken last year. Today is another huge step forward: 5 new welfare chicken products from the exclusive chain will be on the shelves at Colruyt Lowest Prices and one new product at OKay. These include products such as rotisserie chicken, chicken breast, chicken thighs and chicken wings - popular products with customers.
Step by step
Animal welfare is high up on the agenda of Colruyt Group and is one of the pillars of the sustainability policy. In the past years, Colruyt Group has already taken several initiatives to improve the welfare of animals. For example, the retailer was the first to no longer sell eggs from battery cages and to prohibit the castration of piglets. In August 2021, Colruyt Group was also the first Belgian retailers to commit to criteria of the Better Chicken Commitment. And now the retailer is going beyond these criteria by applying NestBorn technology within its exclusive chain.