KNORR COMMITS TO HIGHER ANIMAL WELFARE INGREDIENTS BY 2024
August 31, 2017
Unilever’s largest food brand, Knorr, is building on its global commitment to achieving higher animal welfare standards for all the broiler chicken, pork and beef used in its side dishes, soups, sauces, and bouillon products by announcing a 2024 target and more details on its North America-market plans for chicken. Knorr products are used by consumers and chefs all over the world, with nearly 600 Knorr bouillon cubes purchased globally every second.
Knorr first announced its ambition to push for animal welfare standards above industry practice in 2015 and was awarded the ‘Special Recognition Award’ by Compassion in World Farming. Since then the brand has been continuing its partnership with Compassion in World Farming – the leading international farm animal welfare NGO – to engage the industry and start transforming its supply chain.
“Through our Sustainable Nutrition strategy we aim to build a better food system,” said Matthew McCarthy, Vice President of foods, Unilever North America. “Knorr is Unilever’s largest Foods brand – it’s our responsibility to lead the way in improving animal welfare. However to achieve real impact on a global scale we need to partner with others in the food and related industries - with farmers, suppliers, NGOs, governments and importantly, with chefs and consumers. Only by reconnecting all the links between farm and fork will we build a better food system. And as Knorr uses a very small part of the animal in our products we call on our suppliers and other meat buyers to partner with us in transforming the industry. We believe only the best ingredients make the best food - Food that is good for people and good for the planet.”
Knorr’s higher animal welfare action builds on the brand’s sustainable sourcing strategy. In 2011 Knorr committed to sourcing vegetables, herbs and cereals sustainably by 2020, and by the end of 2016, 95% of the top 13 vegetables and herbs used in Knorr products were sustainably grown. Since 2011 Knorr has been co-investing with suppliers to support the transition to sustainable agriculture using its Knorr Sustainability Partnership Fund, a 1 million Euro fund to co-invest in projects that promote sustainable sourcing. The fund is also available for Knorr suppliers who need support for projects to transition to better animal welfare for broiler chicken, pork or beef.
“Compassion in World Farming is proud to have worked with Unilever for many years on their global efforts to transition to higher welfare for all farmed animals in their supply chain. Today’s pledge further solidifies this commitment and will meaningfully impact the lives of more than 50 million birds in North America every year. We encourage other manufacturers to follow their lead and step up to the plate for chickens.”
- Leah Garces, Executive Director of Compassion in World Farming USA
“We’re grateful for Unilever’s continued leadership on animal welfare. Improving animal welfare standards in Unilever’s supply chain is the right business decision and also the right thing to do.”
-Wayne Pacelle, The Humane Society of the United States’ President and CEO
How Knorr defines higher animal welfare standards:
- Natural light. Animals must have access to natural light.
- Enrichment. Animals can be raised indoors, but must have an enriched environment which lets them express natural behaviour. For broiler chickens, this can mean they have deep litter which lets them dust-bathe, and objects to perch on.
- Enough space. For broiler chickens, for example, this means a stocking density of no more than 30kg / m².
- Healthy animals. Fast growing breeds of chicken suffer from difficulty walking and poor leg health. We will only use meat from breeds of broiler chickens with improved welfare outcomes in North America and Europe. For other regions, our minimum standard is that suppliers must have a leg health plan in place for their broiler chickens.
Knorr has committed to these standards globally based on the ‘better’ standard of Compassion in World Farming’s more detailed welfare matrix for pigs, broiler chickens and beef cattle. Knorr will implement these standards through equivalent local third party certification schemes, or where these don’t exist, use 3rd party auditors to ensure that suppliers meet the detailed welfare requirements.
North America targets: Knorr announces standards for higher animal welfare broiler chicken by 2024
In the US and Canada, where Knorr makes up most of Unilever’s North America broiler chicken volume, Knorr announced a 2024 target to source 100% of the broiler chicken in its supply chain for US and Canada products to the following requirements:
a) Transition to strains of birds approved by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) or Global Animal Partnership (GAP) based on measurably improved welfare outcomes.
b) Reduce stocking density to a maximum of 6 lbs./sq. foot and prohibit broiler cages.
c) Provide birds enriched environments including litter, lighting, and enrichment that meets GAP’s new standards.
d) Process broiler chickens in a manner that avoids pre-stun handling and instead utilizes a multi-step controlled- atmosphere processing system that induces an irreversible stun.
e) Demonstrate compliance with the above standards via third party auditing.
While Knorr makes up most of Unilever’s North America broiler chicken volume, Unilever will source the remainder of the broiler chicken it uses for other US and Canada products to the above higher animal welfare standards. Additionally, in line with Knorr’s existing global higher animal welfare standard, Knorr will also require that broiler chickens have access to natural light.
For pork and beef, Knorr in North America will meet higher animal welfare requirements by 2024 based on the ‘better’ standard of Compassion in World Farming’s detailed welfare matrix for pigs and beef cattle. We will use recognized certification schemes which ensure higher animal welfare standards to ensure compliance.
Learn about Knorr's global animal welfare plans here (PDF | 2MB).