Nomad Foods announced that it will meet the higher chicken welfare criteria of the European Chicken Commitment by 2026, after a Europe-wide campaign by The Open Wing Alliance.

Annelie Selander, Nomad Foods’ Sustainability Director, said, “We have always supported the development of safe, responsible and sustainable food supply chains, including animal welfare, and are proud of our track record. 

“We believe the animal welfare agenda needs to evolve which is why we have been consulting with our stakeholders, including suppliers and consumers, to develop a plan to improve the welfare of the chickens we use in our products. Signing up to the European Chicken Commitment is the natural conclusion of that work and we will collaborate with our global suppliers to understand how we can best drive the change needed by 2026.”

Pru Elliott, the Humane League UK’s Head of Campaigns, said, “We applaud Nomad Foods for doing the right thing for chickens and their customers. It is very encouraging to see them lead the way in their sector, and we encourage other manufacturers to follow suit.”

The Humane League UK joined forces with partner animal welfare organisations across Europe including Albert Schweitzer Foundation, Djurens Rätt, L214, Animal Equality (Spain, UK), Oikeutta Eläimille (Finland), and Open Cages (UK) as part of the campaign. 

Mahi Klosterhalfen, president and CEO of Albert Schweitzer Foundation, said, "Nomad Foods is taking a step in the right direction. In Germany Iglo is following the lead of competitors Frosta and Dr. Oetker and we now expect other companies to sign up to meet the new welfare standards soon."

An increasing number of companies are committing to the ECC criteria, as the public becomes more aware of how broiler chickens bred for meat are reared and demand change. The Humane League UK estimates that a total of 50 companies have now made the commitment to higher chicken welfare in Europe.

Most notably, KFC announced in July that it would meet this criteria in several European countries by 2026, the first fast-food company to do so. WagamamaAccor Hotels and top food-service company Compass also committed this year.

The criteria defined in the ECC contains six key measures addressing the major issues encountered in standard chicken production. The measures include prohibiting the use of fast-growing breeds, reducing overcrowding, and adding environmental enrichment to provide better conditions for chickens.