Nestlé has adopted a new policy for the chickens used for food in Europe through its food brands Herta, Buitoni, Wagner and Maggi.
Taking a phased approach, Nestlé will actively work with supply chain partners and stakeholders to implement the new policy. By 2026, all Nestlé food products in Europe that use chicken as an ingredient will move to one higher standard for welfare as per the requirements set out in the European Broiler Ask (Better Chicken Commitment).
Under those requirements, Nestlé suppliers would:
- Comply with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations, regardless of the country of production.
- Implement a maximum stocking density of 30kg/m2 or less. Thinning is discouraged and if practiced must be limited to one thin per flock.
- Adopt breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes: either the following breeds, Hubbard JA757, 787, 957, or 987, Rambler Ranger, Ranger Classic, and Ranger Gold, or others that meet the criteria of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol.
- Meet improved environmental standards including:
- At least 50 lux of light, including natural light.
- At least two metres of usable perch space, and two pecking substrates, per 1,000 birds.
- On air quality, at least the requirements of Annex 2.3 of the EU broiler directive, regardless of stocking density.
- No cages or multi-tier systems.
- Adopt controlled atmospheric stunning using inert gas or multi-phase systems, or effective electrical stunning without live inversion.
- Demonstrate compliance with the above standards via third-party auditing and annual public reporting on progress towards this commitment.
Commenting on the announcement, Nestlé Zone Europe, Middle East and North Africa CEO Marco Settembri said: “Consumers want to know where their food comes from and how it is made. As part of our commitment to source ingredients responsibly we will improve welfare standards for millions of chickens used in our food products in Europe, including our Herta, Buitoni, Wagner and Maggi ranges.”
Chilled meat brand Herta will make changes in its sourcing of chicken starting January 1 2019, as part of the longer-term transition to higher welfare standards. These products will be available under the existing Herta 'Preference' mark in France.
Nestlé will engage suppliers and stakeholders to assess how chicken ingredients sourced for its Buitoni, Wagner and Maggi brands and entire food portfolio can meet higher welfare standards while maintaining consumer access to affordable, high-quality product choices.
This announcement builds on a pledge on broiler welfare made by Nestlé in the U.S. last year
Nestlé also made and a company’s decision to source cage-free eggs only on a global basis by 2025.