FRENCH RETAIL GIANT E.Leclerc has signed up to the European Chicken Commitment (ECC), the last of the country’s major supermarket chains to do so.

It means that most chicken sold at retail in the country will come from birds produced to the ECC standard, where slow-growing breeds are reared to lower maximum stocking densities.

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E.Leclerc, which has more than 600 stores across the country, said that by 2026 all private (own) label products of raw or processed broiler products containing more than 50% chicken would meet the new criteria by 2026.

The company also said that at least 20% of that poultry would come from farms that either offered birds access to an outdoor range or winter garden.

In France, the take-up for the ECC, also known as the Broiler Ask or Better Chicken Commitment has been higher than in the UK.

French retailers

Monoprix was the first retailer in the country to sign up and has said it will move to the new standard by 2024.

Others such as Intermarche, Casino Group and Carrefour have signed the pledge, as has ready meal manufacturer Sodebo.

Lidl and Aldi in France have also signed up in France, but not the UK.

In the UK, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer, as well as KFC and Nando’s are signatories.

Tesco, as the UK’s largest retailer, is under particular pressure to switch its supply chain.