Two Dutch supermarkets to only offer free-range chicken from 2023
Two major Dutch supermarkets have confirmed that, from 2023, they will no longer stock chicken without a food quality certificate. This means the supermarkets will only offer free-range chicken.
More Dutch supermarkets to only offer customers free-range chicken
Both Albert Heijn and Lidl have committed to improving the quality of meat on offer in their stores, with Albert Heijn announcing that it will only stock chicken that has at least one Better Life star. Lidl was quick to follow in Albert’s footsteps, announcing their decision this week, with spokesperson Marian Verheij saying it would “made an essential contribution to improving the living standard of chickens.”
Anne Hilhorst, a spokesperson for animal rights organisation Wakker Dier, was enthusiastic about the supermarkets’ announcements: “These are the biggest steps for animal welfare in supermarket land for years.” She said the decision would impact the lives of tens of millions of chickens every year, and hopes more supermarket chains will follow in their footsteps.
While Lidl and Albert Heijn’s decisions mark a significant step in the move towards the preservation of animal welfare in farming, they are not the first supermarkets in the Netherlands to only offer free-range chicken - Coop, DekaMarkt, and Dirk made the same move back in 2019.
What do the Dutch food quality stickers mean?
The Better Life stars can be found on many meat and dairy products in your local supermarket, with a total of three stars available for each product. The more stars a product has, the more animal-friendly it is. One star means sufficient attention is paid to animal welfare (i.e. amount of space, sunlight / daylight), whereas three stars the animals are provided with significant indoor and outdoor spaces to rest and live.
Currently, most chicken sold in Dutch supermarkets fails to achieve even one star. According to Wakker Dier, coops are packed full with between 13 and 17 chickens per square metre, and very few even see daylight.