Compassion is extremely disappointed to announce that IKEA are withdrawing their commitment to higher welfare chicken production in nine of the eleven countries holding the Good Chicken Award.
IKEA Belgium, IKEA Germany, IKEA Portugal, IKEA Czech Republic/Hungary/Slovakia, IKEA Denmark, IKEA Finland and IKEA France are all withdrawing from their awards - only IKEA Italy and IKEA Switzerland continue to honour their commitments and therefore retain their Good Chicken Awards.
Dr Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at Compassion says: “IKEA’s lack of progress towards their higher welfare commitments and their recent decision to withdraw completely from them, is not only disappointing, but a highly retrograde step and completely at odds with the growing movement for higher welfare chicken production both in Europe and the US.”
Global trend on broiler welfare
In the last year, there has been unprecedented momentum to address the needs of - and welfare issues associated with - meat chickens. More than 50 US companies (including Subway, Burger King and Kraft Heinz) have made 2024 commitments to make meaningful improvements to the lives of broilers by tackling the fundamental problems of fast growing breeds, and the basic need to provide enough space and an enriched environment for the chickens to live and carry out normal behaviours.
Unilever’s leading brand Knorr, has committed to higher welfare chicken production at a global level for its bouillon products and parent company Unilever has extended and enhanced its broiler commitments across all products both in the US and EU.
In addition, food service giant Elior Group became the first contract caterer to sign up to the same higher welfare standards for chickens across its entire global operations.
So, why amidst these outstanding commitments for chicken welfare, is IKEA choosing to go against the tide of change?
IKEA's sideways step on broilers
Compassion identified a lack of progress on IKEA’s broiler welfare commitments back in 2014. Since then, Compassion’s Food Business team has been working with IKEA, providing technical support (including on farm visits) and training, to help them meet these commitments – but they have decided to retract.
IKEA are currently developing their ‘Better Chicken Programme’, the detail of which is likely to fall short of their commitments made under the Good Chicken Award, let alone the new EU and US enhanced criteria that many other companies have recently made commitments to.
Our commitment to transparency
Compassion’s awards are given to companies on a 5 year commitment period to allow for transitions in what can often be long and complicated supply chains. Where transitions take longer, we continue to work with companies to progress their roadmap. Where companies decide not to honour their commitments we publicly communicate their withdrawal as part of our commitment to transparency.
Like any other business decision, commitments on animal welfare should be made for the long term - embedded into a public facing policy and supported at all levels in the business to ensure they can be achieved.
We are currently witnessing a resurgence in food company commitments to improving broiler welfare and we urge IKEA to rethink and enhance their approach. It’s what their customers expect and ultimately what’s going to be right for the future of their business.