CIWF Logo Food Business
Search icon

Laying Hens

Filter
Rondeel Hen Closeup

Case Studies

Utilising end-of-lay hens for chicken meat

Read more

Utilising end-of-lay hens for chicken meat – a sustainable partnership

Borne out of an inspirational partnership between an egg producer, a food developer, a sandwich processor and a leading international airline, an innovative, sustainable supply chain for higher welfare chicken was created utilising the meat from end-of-lay hens. As a result, from 2013, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was able to start offering higher welfare chicken sandwiches on all of its Western European flights using the meat from ex-laying hens from the ‘Rondeel’ system.

The Rondeel system

Rondeel is an enriched barn system for laying hens, owned by the Dutch Vencomatic Group. The system offers both day and night quarters which are designed to fulfil the hen’s behavioural needs, such as nesting, perching and dustbathing, in a varied environment. The hens typically finish laying at 76 weeks when they are slaughtered and the meat is usually exported overseas for generic products such as soup. There are currently four Rondeel farms in the Netherlands, and this higher welfare system is also available for franchise.

Click here to view an outline of the Rondeel system for laying hens.

Creating sustainability in the layer industry

Rondeel has always been interested in creating a sustainable future for the layer industry. Together with food development company Kokreateur, in 2011 Rondeel began dicussions with sandwich producers Qizini to investigate how they could utilise the meat from their hens when they had come to the end of their laying period.

This was the start of an innovative new supply chain which was co-created by both companies to create a more sustainable market for chicken meat from ex-laying hens.

In May 2012, Rondeel invested 50,000 euros on some research to test the feasibility of using their ex-layers for chicken meat. By the end of 2012, Qizini – who has been making convenience products such as sandwiches, wraps, paninis, grilled sandwiches and salads since 1997 – officially joined the project.

Qizini strives to use natural ingredients wherever possible and limits its use of meat to animals that have been raised under humane conditions. After further discussions and feedback from Rondeel, Qizini believed this was a concept worth investing in.

Research and development

Rondeel System
Rondeel System with Lohmann Brown Lite breed of hen

Qizini’s new product developers have extensive experience of the taste preferences of airline passengers, having been a long-standing supplier to KLM. As part of this partnership they undertook a number of in-house taste trials to ensure the final product would be well received by consumers.

The partners discovered that using an older bird tends to make the meat darker, with a much stronger flavour than the meat normally produced from broiler chickens. Herbs were added in the meat cooking process to get the right flavour and colour.

Various taste trials were conducted to ensure that the taste, colour and texture of the meat met consumer acceptability whilst still being affordable. After three months of trials and adjustments an end product was achieved and accepted by both companies.

Not only had they developed a product that was fully accepted under taste trials, they had developed a thinly sliced meat from a 2kg bird that produced more end-product than a normal broiler chicken – making affordability stretch even further.

Peter Koelewijn, General Manager at Rondeel said:

It was a risk to invest in a project that may not have worked. We conducted many taste trials until the product was right but all the time we had 100% belief that the concept was viable and that we would find a solution. It is our company ethos to provide our hens with the best life possible and we wanted to develop a more sustainable concept which meant making their lives more meaningful than just laying eggs.

Meeting KLM’s higher welfare requirements

Qizini has been a long-term supplier to KLM for the sandwiches served on-board European flights. In 2013, as part of a new tender for its sandwiches, KLM challenged Qizini to include chicken meat from a higher welfare system, in line with KLM’s Good Chicken Award from Compassion in World Farming. In addition to meeting these higher welfare standards, Qizini developed a new concept of ‘local farmers feeding the world’ where all ingredients used in the sandwiches were locally sourced, ethical produce which met KLM’s wider sustainability goals and that could ‘tell a story’.

In response to the tender, Qizini invested in a marketing video to ‘sell in’ its product offer by ‘telling the story’ of the provenance of all the ingredients used in their sandwiches, including the higher welfare chicken meat from the Rondeel system.

Qizini’s Commercial Manager, Frank Vos said,

As one of KLM’s suppliers, we know that ethical sourcing is key for the food they offer to customers on board their flights. We were very excited about the prospect of being able to offer something a bit different – a product which truly values the life of laying hens, which are raised under such humane conditions. All of the ingredients that go into our sandwiches for KLM use the most natural, local ingredients and through this partnership we are able to use local farmers to feed the world.

Qizini supplies approximately 3.5m chicken sandwiches to KLM each year, which equates to 80-90% of the end-of-lay hens from the Rondeel system (approximately 90,000 hens per year). The whole bird is utilised within this supply chain as Qizini uses any excess birds for its other product ranges outside the KLM sandwich supply.

KLM is ambitious about its Corporate Social Responsibility and innovation is a top priority. As such they are in constant dialogue with their partners and suppliers to ensure their social and environmental commitments are fulfilled.

The key driver behind this project was the real commitment from all parties involved. Through its tender process, KLM helped create the demand for higher welfare chicken. By working in close partnership with its suppliers they had full transparency of the supply chain for their sandwiches and were able to source a viable, sustainable product that met all their ethical goals, and one which has been warmly received by KLM’s customers.

Communicating higher welfare

We loved the concept of using this chicken meat in our sandwiches. It’s one that truly values the hens’ lives and is a great story to tell. By rationalising our on-board food offer and reducing the variety of sandwich flavours we use, we are now able to provide our customers high quality, ethical food at the same cost.

We feel it’s important to share with our customers that we source ethical ingredients for our in-flight meals and communicate this clearly on the sandwiches we serve on board. Interestingly, since we have put our new sandwich supply in place, it’s the first time we have received any feedback from our customers – via our crew, letters and emails – and it’s all been positive. Through this partnership, we have been able to meet our sustainability goals affordably and will strive to seek out further sustainable sourcing opportunities in future.

Roel Verwiel, Food & Beverage Manager at KLM

Klm Sandwich Box
KLM in-flight chicken sandwich box

In addition to animal welfare and ethically sourced ingredients, KLM also focusses on sustainable fish, soy and palm oil. Requirements on these ingredients that are also met by Qizini.

By working together, Rondeel, Kokreateur and Qizini were able to provide KLM with a secure higher welfare chicken supply which was affordable for all and which met all their aims of supplying sustainable food for the future, and more importantly making the most of the laying hens’ lives.

There were three key elements to the success of this partnership:

  1. The openness to truly believe in an idea in order to invest in its success
  2. Working closely together with open communication so that all parties understood each part of supply chain
  3. Communicating the importance of ethically sourced food to customers to create transparency and trust

Click here to download a copy of the case study.

Company backgrounds

 

Rondeel Logo

Rondeel is an enriched barn system for laying hens, owned by the Dutch Vencomatic Group. Vencomatic Group offers a full range of innovative systems for equipping modern poultry farms all over the world. They constantly look for alternative solutions, developing sustainable and poultry friendly products. The Vencomatic Group has over 350 committed employees who serve thousands of customers worldwide.

The Rondeel  system accomodates chickens in an manner that pays close regard to both animal welfare and the environment, while also catering to all the birds’ natural requirements.

There are currently four Rondeel farms located in the Netherlands, and the system is also available for franchise. Rondeel eggs are sold to consumers in Albert Heijn retail stores, at an intermediate price between free-range and organic eggs. Rondeel eggs are also used in the well known dutch restaurant chain ‘La place’ and used in different catering organisations.

Kokreateur Logo

Kokreateur develops its own food products and products for third parties. The company invents food concepts and develops new products that focus in particular on the use of raw materials such as egg, fish, dairy and meat, and the production processes involved to ensure the best tasting food for its partners and customers.

Qizini Logo E1412082178512

Qizini has been making convenience products such as sandwiches, wraps, paninis, grilled sandwiches and salads since 1997. The company strives to use natural ingredients wherever possible and limits its use of meat to animals that have been raised under humane conditions.

With approximately 400 employees in Germany, Belgium and France, Qizini supplies both leading Dutch and international customers with products under its own brand – Qizini – as well as under private labels. Its production facilities are located in Alphen aan de Rijn and Losser in The Netherlands.

Qizini products are available in supermarkets, food to go outlets, at petrol stations and also on board aircraft such as KLM

Klm

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was founded on 7 October 1919 to serve the Netherlands and its colonies. Today KLM is the oldest airline still operating under its original name. KLM has been part of the AIR FRANCE KLM group since the merger in 2004.

Corporate Social Responsibility is vital to KLM’s pioneering position and CSR is embedded at all levels of the organisation. KLM is not only concerned with healthy commercial profits, but is also committed to a sustainable society and to care for the environment, both at home and abroad. For several years now, this has earned KLM the No. 1 listing in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

View (PDF 0.14MB)
Unilever Logo Research Thumb

Case Studies

Unilever - A passion for Real food

Read more

Their combined heritage is in real food and they understand how important simple, honest ingredients are to their customers and the most logical place to focus their attention was on a primary ingredient and to change to Good Eggs (cage free) throughout their entire product ranges.

Good Eggs and Compassion

Mayonnaise as a product is relatively basic, being an emulsion of oil, egg yolk, vinegar, lemon juice and mustard. Hellmann’s wanted to build in benefits to their products by improving the attributes of the ingredients. Over the last few years Hellmann’s have talked about the importance of honest ingredients and have focused consumers’ attentions to the oils that they use and the benefits of the naturally occurring Omega 3. Logically, the next focus is to another of the ingredients – eggs. Firstly, to build a relevant story around eggs they needed to explore consumers associations with cage-free eggs and what that could do to improve the perceptions of the product and brand.

Unilever commissioned some research across 6 countries with the aim of exploring consumer perceptions around eggs from different production methods (free range, barn, battery). Off the back of this research they focused their campaigns on positive messages around good, honest, real ingredients, natural, high quality and great tasting food – the very same attributes that consumers associate with ‘Good Eggs‘. It was decided that all marketing activity was to be devoted to championing the egg and the great taste that authentic ingredients like Good Eggs brings to mayonnaise.


Compassion began working with Unilever in 2008 with their move to cage-free eggs and awarded them a Good Egg Award for their commitments to improve the lives of an estimated 1,700,000 laying hens annually.

Amora France – outstanding results driven by their free-range message

Amora France has literally gone from strength to strength and the post launch evaluation of the move to free-range eggs stands testament to the commercial benefits of Good Eggs.

The campaign

The campaign centred around ‘Good Eggs’ as a key ingredient. Launch activity included PR and press from Feb through to June, TV spots in June and September and in-store and trade activity.

Amora Campaign

Real success

The overall Amora brand has become stronger as a result of the Good Egg campaign. More consumers who relate to the Amora brand believe that it is ‘made with good stuff’, ‘made with natural ingredients’ and ‘made with simple and real ingredients’.

All metrics are up from the 2008 to 2009 sales periods:

  • Value growth YtoY: +9.5%
  • Market share YtoY: +5.2%
  • Penetration rate: +11.0 %
  • Volume/buyer: +3.8%

Launching free-range mayonnaise for Amora has grown the French mayonnaise market and provided Unilever with more buyers buying more mayonnaise.

Overall, Amora achieved great market results and outperformed objectives.

The advantage of moving to free-range eggs has also been replicated by competitors. Maille, also a Unilever brand, uses free-range eggs and now so does Lesieur. These are the 2nd and 3rd most popular mayonnaise brands in France respectively. Along with Amora which is the market leading mayonnaise, free-range eggs dominate the entire category. This trend is seen not only in France but in other markets. For instance, Tesco’s own brand mayonnaise have recently updated their recipe to free-range eggs.

Positive promotion of welfare is good for business and for animals

Hellmann’s, Amora and Calvé have been trading on ‘Realness’ for many years and have realised the opportunity of being able to further substantiate this claim. By the end of 2009, Hellmann’s, Calve and Amora converted to cage-free a year ahead of schedule across Western Europe and in 2010 Unilever expanded cage-free dressings to Central and Eastern Europe (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia). Unilever are on-track to meet their target of rolling cage-free across the entire European continent by 2012.

The success of cage-free eggs has also inspired the American market to make the commitment to go cage-free. In 2010 Hellmann’s light announced plans to change the recipe and use exclusively cage-free eggs in North America. Their aspiration is to secure stable supply in North America and change all the ‘Real Food’ mayonnaise recipes to cage-free.

Royal Brompton Logo Research Thumb

Case Studies

Royal Brompton Hospital - Good Egg Award winner

Read more

Key points

  • All 56,000 eggs used/year are local and free-range.
  • All of the Hospital’s egg sandwiches are now made with free-range eggs.
  • All milk is organic and from the Windmill Dairy in Bedfordshire.
  • A farm in Wiltshire supplies the Hospital with organic 100% beef burgers and other meats.

The background

  • They wanted to move to sourcing local free-range eggs as part of supporting government initiatives to make UK farming more sustainable and encouraging healthy eating and the promotion of nutritious food.
  • Providing high quality, nutritious and high welfare food has always been important to the Royal Brompton Hospital.

The process

  • The hospital catering department worked closely with Sustain and the Soil Association who help to source local free-range foods.
  • They went directly to local producers in order to get the best deals.
  • Because they are a large consumer with a predictable demand they found many local suppliers keen to win the contract.
  • They secured a contract with Bank Farm in Kent who were able to meet their needs at a very competitive price.
  • They saved costs by cutting out the middlemen.

Achievements

  • The contracted local farm has greatly benefitted and expanded.
  • Customers appreciate the free-range eggs and comment on their better quality.
  • Mike Duckett, Catering Services Manager at The Royal Brompton was recently nominated as a BBC Country File Local Food Hero
  • Prince Charles has visited the hospital to witness their success in bringing local, high-welfare food onto the menu.

Contacts / further info

  • Sustain may be able to help you find local suppliers of free-range eggs and other products.
  • The Soil Association can advise on sourcing organic products
  • The Royal Brompton works with the Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative to improve local procurement.
Globe

You are using an outdated browser which we do not support. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

If you have any further questions regarding this, or any other matter, please get in touch with us at supporters@ciwf.org.uk. We aim to respond to all queries within two working days. However, due to the high volume of correspondence that we receive, it may occasionally take a little longer. Please do bear with us if this is the case. Alternatively, if your query is urgent, you can contact our Supporter Engagement Team on +44 (0)1483 521 953 (lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).