Lidl introduced method of production labels to its fresh chicken range in 2019 with the aim of improving transparency and shoppers’ understanding of animal welfare. Following the success of this trial, Lidl has now taken the decision to extend method of production labels to include pork, duck, turkey and eggs.
The NFU has been in close dialogue with Lidl since the initial concept was first introduced and had raised several concerns. These were over how:
- Method of production labelling can oversimplify the work that farmers put in to ensuring high animal welfare standards are upheld, regardless of production system, and
- Welfare and production systems are not intrinsically linked.
However, the NFU welcomes Lidl’s long-term thinking and willingness to try to improve shoppers’ understanding of how food is produced and the process from farm to fork. The NFU also appreciates Lidl’s commitment to supporting British food and farming through the promotion of the high standards of all poultry production systems in the UK. This comes at a particularly pivotal time with the future of our food supply currently under debate.
The NFU is hopeful that the introduction of these new labels will help to clarify the different methods of production that exist in the UK poultry sector, without misleading shoppers, enabling them to make informed purchasing decisions.
Thomas Wornham, chairman of the NFU’s national poultry board said:
“The NFU poultry board has long called for clear, unambiguous labelling to help shoppers understand where products have come from and make informed decisions on the food they buy. We are pleased that Lidl’s decision to include additional labelling was made based on the results of customer research and consideration of consumer insights and that they will continue to work closely with the assurance schemes that consumers already know and trust, such as the Red Tractor.”
The NFU does however recognise the challenges that method of production labelling may present to other sectors and, at risk of confusing customers and creating an unreasonable burden to farming businesses, does not think these additional labels should be introduced in any other sectors.
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