Today (12 August), one of the UK’s leading independent restaurant groups, Casual Dining Group (CDG), joined the move for better chicken by signing up to the European Chicken Commitment.
They follow iconic chicken brand KFC and food catering giant Compass Group, who have also made similar commitments in the past month, adding their name to a growing list of companies that are recognising the need to improve the lives of meat chickens by providing them with more space to live (stocking density to meet 30kg/m2 or less), more enrichment for occupation, and importantly, by making the move to a healthier, slower growing breed.
CDG serves more than 20 million people a year, across 280 restaurant sites, and they plan to introduce these higher welfare standards across their entire business portfolio including: Café Rouge, Bella Italia, Las Iguanas, La Tasca, Huxleys, Oriel Grande Brasserie and Belgo.
Animal welfare is a key part of CDG’s wider corporate social responsibility programme and their commitment to higher welfare chicken follows their cage-free egg pledge, for which they won a Good Egg Award (across shell, liquid and powder eggs) from Compassion in 2017.
This latest commitment comes with a ‘call to action’ to acknowledge that sustainable change needs to be supported by the whole industry if it is to succeed.
Simon Galkoff, Group Procurement Director, CDG, commented: “This agreement is a very exciting time for us and demonstrates months of hard work across the business. The decision to sign this agreement was not something we took lightly, and we have conducted significant due diligence and research with CIWF to ensure we’re comfortable that plans are in place to meet the requirements of the commitment.
“The key to achieving this will be working together as an industry to share best practice and come together to achieve a common goal. We’re very much looking forward to being part of this industry collaboration and continue our close working relationship with the team at Compassion in World Farming in a continual pursuit of improving practices across our entire supply chain.”
CDG also commits to annual reporting of progress, demonstrating their level of commitment and their dedication towards progress and transparency.
Compassion’s Director of Food Business, Dr Tracey Jones, said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Casual Dining Group over the last few years. We have seen them tackle confinement in laying hens and are delighted to see them extend their focus to broiler chickens. They have a genuine ambition to make a positive contribution to animal welfare across their business, but also across the wider industry.
“Few companies can achieve these production changes alone and we urge others to join the movement to prioritise broiler welfare. I sincerely congratulate Casual Dining Group on this significant commitment, and we look forward to working with them on its successful implementation in the coming months and years.”