Better welfare for meat chickens
To improve the living conditions of 'standard' chickens, we formulate and evaluate our own quality and sustainability criteria for our partners. In addition, Colruyt and OKay have undertaken to implementing the higher animal welfare criteria – based on the Better Chicken Commitment – and the Nestborn or One2Born method by 2026.
Quality and sustainability criteria
Of course our poultry breeders always follow the law, but Colruyt Lowest Prices also includes additional requirements in its specifications for the welfare, health and hygiene of chickens. The breeders provide feed without animal fat and straw bales to stimulate the natural behaviour of the chickens. Compliance with all our criteria is closely monitored.
Additional animal welfare criteria
Together with our suppliers, Colruyt Lowest prices and OKay work on the application of the standards for increased animal welfare, based on the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC). The animals will have daylight, 40% more space, and a switch to a slower growing breed will be made. From 2026, all Boni frozen chicken, all fresh chicken at OKay and the fresh standard chicken of Colruyt's own brand in the butcher's shops will meet the criteria.
Colruyt Lowest Prices and OKay are gradually rolling out the stricter criteria to allow their breeders and suppliers to change their production method step by step. Extra bales of straw in the stables are easy to provide. But other elements require an investment and/or some time, such as structural adjustments to the building to allow more daylight.
From 2022, the first chicken products meeting the various criteria based on the Better Chicken Commitment will be in the stores: a slower-growing breed, 40 % more space per chicken, sufficient perches, floor substrates such as straw bales ... You can recognise these products by this 'Step by Step' sticker. By 2026, the transition will be completely finalised.
Hatching chicks in the stable
After successful trial projects in 2020 and 2021, we decided to include the Nestborn- and the similar One2Born- method in the specifications for chickens of the Colruyt and OKay butcher's department by 2026. A first in Belgium! The aim is to encourage even more breeders for the approach whereby chicks are born where they grow up. This has some major advantages:
- The chicks are spared the transport from the hatchery to the stable, and the associated transport activities. This translates into less stress.
- They can immediately start eating and drinking according to their natural rhythm, which has a positive effect on their intestinal health.
- This improves their general health considerably, which leads to less mortality and less use of antibiotics (up to 50%, or more).
In dialogue with partners
Based on the animal welfare criteria specifications, an external, independent organisation audits Colruyt Lowest Prices' partners each year. Since 2017 we collect data on the living conditions of the chickens from feed suppliers, poultry farmers and abattoirs. Based on this, we can evaluate the approach to animal welfare and health improvement. Our aim is to enter into a dialogue with all our partners in the chain and together formulate clear ambitions and priorities.