Continental Foods, the food group including such brands as Aïki, Devos Lemmens and Liebig, has signed the ‘Better Chicken Commitment’ (BCC). This means, among other things, that by 2026 the company will Continental Foods will only use higher welfare chicken in its products in five European countries.
The BCC includes a number of animal welfare standards that are supported by the largest animal welfare organisations in Europe. Those who sign the BCC undertake, among other things, that by 2026 they will not use fast-growing breeds ('broiler chickens'), they will provide the animals with more space and natural light, and that they will stun them before slaughtering them.
Continental Foods aims to meet all BCC criteria in Belgium, Germany, Finland, France and Sweden by 2026. An immediate switch to this is very nearly impossible, since 97% of broiler chickens in Belgium come from intensive poultry farming. All links in the production chain (chicken farms, slaughterhouses, etc.) therefore need sufficient time to carry out the necessary changes. Nevertheless, Continental Foods believes that 50% of its Belgian products will comply with the BCC by 2024.
An example for the sector
Michel Vandenbosch, Chair of the animal welfare organisation GAIA, sees Continental Foods' decision as a strong signal for the entire sector: “This is an important decision that will have a positive impact on millions of animals”. We encourage other food groups, but also fast food chains and the hospitality industry, to be inspired by the commitment made by the Belgian leader in the food sector, and to put an end to the worst practices related to the breeding and slaughter of chickens for meat production."
Continental Foods is not the first large food company to sign the BCC. Those who have previously committed to meeting the above criteria include Nestlé, Danone, Unilever, Dr. Oetker and KFC.