From Saturday 7 July we’re switching to 100% ‘outdoor-bred’ own brand fresh pork in all our stores

All Co-op own-brand standard and premium fresh pork, bacon, sausage and gammon products are now obtained from 100% outdoor-bred pigs which have come from RSPCA Assured farms.

This means all pigs within our producer group will be born outdoors and raised in well-ventilated, spacious straw barns which demonstrates our commitment to animal welfare.

RSPCA Assured Logo (High Res)By partnering with Tulip Ltd, the UK’s largest high-welfare pig producer, we’ve been able to establish an RSCPA Assured outdoor-bred pork supply chain offering total traceability from farm to fork, where sows are free from confinement and pigs are able to fully express their natural behaviours.

Traditionally, “higher welfare” produce can be more expensive, but following the switch our product prices will not rise. The aim of the switch is to provide higher welfare product at the same cost to our customers.

In recognition of our commitment, last month we collected a major animal welfare award from ‘Compassion in World Farming’, a leading organisation who place farm animal welfare at the heart of the food industry. Olivia Nicholson, Agricultural Development Manager – Pork, attended the ceremony in Paris to collect the ‘Good Pig Award’.

Jo Whitfield, Retail CEO, Co-op, said:

“Our customers and members shop with us because they know we are as passionate as they are about animal welfare, so we’re delighted to be able to bring such a pioneering approach to our pork offering.

“The highest animal welfare standards should not just be the preserve of top-tier products and we want to ensure that the very best quality British pork is available at everyday affordable prices. We will be working hard with innovative and passionate British farmers who share our principles, to provide exceptional quality pork produce with a conscience.”

Clive Brazier, CEO RSPCA Assured, said:

“Thanks to the Co-op many more pigs will have a better life reared to RSPCA welfare standards. And not only that, but the Co-op is helping bust the perception that higher welfare food always means a higher retail price.

Shoppers can be confident that, no matter what their budget is, all own-brand fresh pork products in the Co-op will be RSPCA Assured. This is a major step forward in helping improve pig welfare and we hope other retailers will follow suit.”

Our outdoor bred pork commitment follows our previous switch to using 100% British own-brand fresh meat announced in May last year. This was alongside a further £1bn investment into sourcing home-grown meat and fresh produce.

Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. There is no humane way to slaughter animals. Pigs are clean, sentient, highly intelligent, social creatures, who want to live. In terms of intelligence they only come behind dogs, dolphins and elephants. They love being with their family groups. It is a shame that the Co-op stock very little in the way of vegetarian or vegan options.

  2. Great news – I hope this paves the way for the same for all Chicken products ?

  3. This is good to hear but wouldn’t a move to more Vegetarian / Vegan alternatives be more in favour of animal welfare? I’m a strong believer that we don’t need animal products to be healthy and enjoy delicious food 🙂

    • A diverse food supply is quite a good option. Switching everyone to vegetarian means having to clear HUGE spaces of land to grow high protein crops and that can destroy animal ecosystems more than any pig farm would. In the case of soya, it can even mean rainforest destruction.

      Also commercial crop growing REQUIRES shooting rabbits and the like so animals still need to die, it’s just one step removed.

  4. Congratulations to all the colleagues who secured the CWF award… especially to Olivia who, I hope, enjoyed her evening in Paris.
    Well done gals and guys!

  5. This is excellent news! I wondered if we plan to extend this commitment to beef, lamb etc.?

    • Hi – we’re continually reviewing our welfare standards across all our meat and where we work with producer groups we operate a pillar scheme that allows our producers to earn bonuses in return for meeting improved animal welfare and environmental best practice.

    • Also, they are different suppliers and in some supply chains it isn’t possible to make an isolated decision on sourcing.

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