The initiative kicked off in October 2007, when The Co-operative raised the minimum standard for all fresh whole chickens to Elmwood, and the move is now being rolled out to incorporate fresh plain chicken fillets and pieces. The price of the products will remain the same, meaning that higher-welfare chicken will be just as affordable to customers.
The move to extend the Elmwood standard comes after a six-month consultation process with Co-operative members, which began last September. More than 100,000 customers across the UK responded to the poll to guide the retailer's food ethical policy. Animal welfare emerged as one of the top areas that members wish to see prioritised by the business.
In order to extend the Elmwood standard to all fresh plain chicken, many additional farms have been converted across the UK, bringing the total of Elmwood farms to 96 altogether.
As well as Elmwood, The Co-operative will also stock Truly Irresistible Free Range chicken, which is reared to RSPCA Freedom Food standards and organic chicken, which is reared outdoors to European organic standards. All of The Co-operative's fresh chicken is British.