meat and poultry
As one of the UK’s largest farmers, we have always been strong supporters of the UK farming industry and promote meat and poultry sourced from the UK. We view the provenance of our products as an issue of growing importance to our customers, and they are increasingly concerned with the origin of their foods and the ingredients used in their manufacture. We have listened to their concerns and responded by increasing the amount of British meat and poultry we sell, and are working with farmers and suppliers to shorten our supply chains.
Co-operative Farming Groups
We have dedicated long term relationships with over 850 carefully selected farmers across key species, producing The Co-operative’s fresh protein with passion to the high standards you expect. We’ve called this relationship The Co-operative Farming Group, which is focussed on delivering quality protein you can trust and offering clear visibility of our supply chain.
All meat and poultry sold under The Co-operative brand is produced from livestock reared to strict standards of animal welfare.
All our British suppliers are independently audited and accredited to one of the national Farm Assurance Schemes controlled by Assured Food Standards, which allow the meat to display the Red Tractor Logo. In countries where there are no national farm assurance schemes we insist that the animals are produced to an equivalent standard wherever possible.
For certain species that are grown in large-scale, indoor rearing systems we have developed a higher welfare standard over and above the present legal benchmark. In 2007 we replaced standard fresh whole chickens with chickens reared to our higher welfare standard, and over time have rolled this out to all fresh chicken, pork and turkey.
Co-operative Food supports higher animal welfare standards via schemes such as RSPCA Freedom Food accreditation and organic certification. We were the first retailer to adopt the RSPCA Freedom Food Scheme back in 1994 when we launched Freedom Food accredited Free Range Eggs and we still offer one of the largest ranges of Freedom Food labelled products in the UK including premium chicken, pork, bacon, sausage, eggs and ingredients in certain products such as ready meals.