At Sprouts we believe that bettering animal welfare is a key part of good business. We recognize our responsibility to ensure the welfare of farm animals throughout our supply chain with respect to their physical, behavioral, and mental well-being. We are working to establish and implement meaningful animal welfare standards across our meat supply chain. As part of this process, aimed to improve animal welfare, we are engaging our suppliers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other relevant stakeholders to ensure our policies and targets for continuous improvement are progressive, meaningful, and help drive the industry forward.
Chicken – Commitment to Welfare and Quality
We are taking a phased approach to improving broiler chicken welfare meaningfully and measurably. We will work collaboratively with our industry partners to meet the following targets for our meat department Sprouts Butcher Shop fresh chicken and one-pan meals, full-service case, and rotisserie chicken.
- Improve the environment for chickens including litter, lighting, and enrichments as per the Better Chicken Commitment standards. These changes are designed to encourage the natural behavior of chickens such as pecking, scratching, exploration, and play.
- Reduce stocking density to 6.0 lbs./sq. foot and prohibit broiler cages to allow chickens more room to move about.
- Process chickens in a manner that avoids pre-stun handling and instead utilizes a multi-step controlled-atmosphere processing system that induces an irreversible stun (CAS). This more humane technology is intended to provide a less stressful experience and contribute to improved animal welfare, better processing conditions, and higher quality meat. We have set a target to increase this amount to more than 60% by 2024 and 100% by 2026
We will verify each of these components with annual third-party auditing and will annually disclose our progress.
We also recognize the welfare issues experienced by conventional breeds of chickens raised for meat production and will monitor developments as research continues to evolve. We will continue to look for ways to adopt higher-welfare breeds in our supply chain.
As of 2021, more than 17% of the broiler chicken sold at Sprouts is GAP Level 3 certified and meets our enrichment, stocking density, and CAS goals.
Sprouts’ Butcher Shop pork whole pork products are sourced from suppliers that utilize open-pen or group-housed facilities.
All pork sold in our Meat department, including Sprouts Butcher Shop Pork, is raised with no antibiotics or beta agonists, ever. While we support the use of antibiotics on animals for therapeutic purposes only (i.e. disease treatment) as directed by a licensed veterinarian, pork that requires therapeutic use of antibiotics is removed from our supply chain and sold to conventional retailers.