Coles Brand fresh chicken to be RSPCA Approved

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 8th January 2014

Australian supermarket group Coles has announced 100 per cent of its Coles Brand fresh chicken will be RSPCA Approved, in a move it hopes will please its customers, who been indicating that they “care about how and where their food is produced”.

The supermarket group said chicken was on the menu in over 95 per cent of Australian households and eaten between two and four times a week by almost 80 per cent of its customers. Coles also said its customers said they would buy even more chicken if there were “better welfare options”.

Coles also said a blind taste test with 428 of its customers, which was conducted by market research agency Colmar Brunton in November 2013, found that Coles RSPCA Approved chicken “tastes better” than conventionally-raised Coles chicken.

“Coles has listened carefully to what customers are telling us about animal welfare and the quality of the food they feed their families,” said John Durkan, Coles Chief Operating Officer. “We’ve taken this feedback to our farmers and growers and worked with them to deliver a better product without adding to the cost of the weekly shop,” he said.

RSPCA Approval ‘on trend’ for Coles

The move is the latest in a series of similar changes Coles has made in its meat and animal product lines. In January 2011, Australian Food News reported that Coles had announced its fresh beef offerings would come entirely from beef produced without the use of Hormone Growth Promotants. In March 2013, Australian Food New reported that Coles had removed cage eggs and sow stall fresh pork from its private label range.

Coles said its ambassador, Australian chef Curtis Stone had been “instrumental in leading the charge for Australian families to be able to buy better quality Australian food”.

“Whether you are growing fruit and vegies or producing pork and chicken, the fact is the more care you take in growing the plant or raising the animal the better tasting product you’re going to get on your plate,” Mr Stone said.  “Australian farmers already produce some of the best food in the world and I’m delighted that they are once again leading the way in helping Australian families serve up better quality, better tasting food,” he said.

Coles launched a new nationwide television advertising campaign featuring Curtis Stone launched in January 2014.

The RSPCA said it was “proud” to be working with Coles and its suppliers to make the switch to sourcing only RSPCA Approved chicken.

“It’s an exciting time for Australian consumers, who over the years have been demanding more and more high welfare food in a growing trend, which is directly benefiting the welfare of farm animals,” said Heather Neil, Chief Executive of RSPCA Australia.

Coles has been selling RSPCA Approved chicken breasts, wings, drumsticks, thigh fillets and whole chickens since 2011. The pre-packed range initially went on sale in Victorian stores only but was quickly introduced to other States as the products became more popular with customers. From January 2014 all Coles brand fresh chicken including loose portions from the deli and BBQ chickens will be RSPCA Approved.

RSPCA Approved standards

Coles RSPCA Approved chickens are raised in barns farmed to the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme Standards, which allow birds to freely exhibit natural behaviours such as perching, scratching and foraging.

RSPCA assessors visit these farms at least four times in the first 12 months and twice a year in following years to ensure the RSPCA’s higher welfare standards are maintained.

Coles said it will source RSPCA Approved fresh chicken from 170 farms across Australia, working with suppliers such as Hazeldenes, Cordina Farms, Baiada, Nichols Poultry and Golden Cockerel.

All Coles Brand fresh chicken will be RSPCA Approved