M&S will be the first major retailer to sell only slower-reared, higher welfare chicken across its full range of fresh chicken products.
M&S already has the highest animal welfare standards in the market.
From Autumn 2022 all fresh chicken sold by M&S will be slower-reared, British and RSPCA Assured – demonstrating the retailer’s continued leadership and commitment in this area.
READ MORE: ‘I tried Marks and Spencer scones with jam and cream to settle the age old debate of which filling goes first’
The slower-reared birds are fed on a multigrain diet, specifically designed to support slower natural growth and muscle development, giving the chicken a great flavour and succulence.
M&S Food Managing Director Stuart Machin said: “M&S has a long history of leading on animal welfare standards, working with our M&S Select farmers we know and trust.
“We were the first retailer to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment, the first major retailer to move to 100 per cent Free Range eggs, and all our pork is 100 per cent outdoor bred.”
He added: “We already have the biggest range of RSPCA Assured products on the market, but we constantly want to raise the bar – that is why we are making this industry-leading commitment.
“It will lead to a step-change in UK farming standards and show customers that our determination to maintain the highest welfare standards means they will always get exceptional quality and trusted value at M&S.”
Customers can already buy slower-reared chicken at M&S, including whole chickens, portions and chicken breasts – from next year, this standard will apply to all fresh chicken products.
This significant investment will show customers that M&S prioritises the welfare of animals in its supply chain, and the story will feature in the long-running ‘Fresh Market Update’ TV campaign from the July 21.
MyLondon’s brilliant new newsletter The 12 is packed with news, views, features and opinion from across the city.
Every day we’ll send you a free email at around 12pm with 12 stories to keep you entertained, informed and uplifted. It’s the perfect lunchtime read.
The MyLondon team tells London stories for Londoners. Our 45 journalists cover all the news you need – from City Hall to your local streets.
Never miss a moment by signing up to The 12 newsletter here.
RSPCA Chief Executive Chris Sherwood said: “With its move to RSPCA Assured in this category, M&S has extended its already leading position and can assure its customers that they are buying higher welfare chicken, reared to the RSPCA’s high standards – throughout its entire range.
“It’s a landmark achievement for animal welfare, which we hope will set a leading example for others in the sector.
“By simply switching to using only slower-growing breeds of chicken, retailers can make an enormous difference to the lives and welfare of millions of chickens reared in this country every year for their meat.”
Dr Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming, said: “We applaud M&S for being the first retailer to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment, the first to start transitioning supply, and the first to roll out the product on the shelf with their ‘Oakham Gold’ fresh chicken.
“M&S is leading the UK market, and we urge others to follow suit if we are to succeed in achieving genuine change for chickens.”