2 SISTERS FOOD GROUP has said it is now Europe’s largest producer of higher-welfare poultry, rearing more than two million birds a week to Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) standards.

It means that more than 20% of its total production in the UK and across Europe – some 10.5 million birds a week – are reared to BCC requirements.

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There are 60 farms in the UK and 177 in Europe rearing BCC birds for 2 Sisters, the company said, with Marks & Spencer being a “key partner” in Britain because of its new Oakham Gold BCC range.

The BCC standards stipulate poultry farms must:

  • Comply with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations
  • Not exceed a stocking density of more than 30kg/m2 –30% more room than ‘standard’ protocols
  • Use breeds of chickens that grow more slowly
  • Provide an enriched environment for the birds in barns
  • Birds must be slaughtered using “humane methods”
  • All companies must be third-party audited at regular intervals

2 Sisters Food Group agricultural director, Nick Davies, said: “This is one of the biggest generational changes for a product offer I can think of in my career.

“I’m very proud to lead the agriculture team here at 2 Sisters to make all this happen, but it’s also down to the breeders, planners, farmers, processing sites and commercial teams for it to be delivered.

“It’s also fantastic that our customers have supported us through this journey and are now delivering ranges in partnership to their consumers that meet the latest higher welfare, slower grown commitments, well ahead of when they’ve been asked to be implemented.”

‘Listened closely’

Ronald Kers, 2 Sisters Food Group’s chief executive, said: “This is great news and a testament to all the hard work our farmers, processing operations and commercial teams are putting in.

“We want all our chickens to have as happy lives as possible. 

“We’ve listened very closely to our customers – and consumers – who tell us they want more options when it comes to higher welfare chicken as well.

“We’ll always produce the full range of products, ranging from organic, free range to standard birds, but as the years go by, more and more people are asking for higher welfare birds that are still competitively priced, and that’s what we’re proud to deliver to help feed the nation.”