All major Dutch supermarkets to only offer free-range chicken by end of 2023
A number of major Dutch supermarkets, including Albert Heijn and Lidl, have already promised to only offer free-range chicken from 2023. Now, as the final remaining supermarket chain in the Netherlands has committed to only selling chicken with a food quality certificate, it seems that broiler chickens will effectively disappear from shelves after 2023.
Free-range chicken in Dutch supermarkets
So far, Albert Heijn, Lidl, Dirk, Coop, DekaMarkt, Jumbo, Plus, Aldi, Picnic, Vomar, MCD, Boon’s Markt, SPAR, and Hoogvliet have all announced that, in the future, customers would only be able to purchase free-range chicken. Boni is the latest - and last - supermarket to make the same commitment in an attempt to support the preservation of animal welfare in farming.
This means that all major supermarket chains in the Netherlands will only offer chicken with at least one food quality certificate, ensuring that sufficient attention is paid to animal welfare (i.e. provision of space, sunlight / daylight) and the quality of the breed. It also means that, by the end of 2023, Dutch supermarkets will no longer sell broiler chickens (an animal that is bred and raised specifically for meat production, meeting only the minimum EU standards for farming).
Animal welfare and farming in the Netherlands
Animal rights organisation Wakker Dier was pleased by the news, calling it a huge milestone. “A global first. We are proud of the Dutch supermarkets and the chicken sector that they are opting for more animal-friendly farming,” said spokesperson Anne Hilhorst. The organisation has been campaigning for this change since 2012.
However, Boni CEO Frank Klören has highlighted how this chance will impact the cost of farming and potentially the price of chicken in stores: “Two weeks longer life for the chicken, however good it may be, also means extra use of water, extra CO2 emissions, extra manure production, extra use of space, more coops, even extra food miles.”