Co-operative wins top award for animal welfare

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The Co-operative Group has won the RSPCA People’s Choice Supermarket Award for its commitments to animal welfare for the second year running.

The Co-operative won the award for its commitments to higher-welfare products including Freedom Food-labeled free-range chicken, Freedom Food-labeled free-range eggs, outdoor-reared beef and strict welfare standards for its own-brand pork.

Almost half (45%) of the people who voted backed The Co-operative ahead of other finalists Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.

The RSPCA hosted the Awards in London on the 6 October 2010 in conjunction with The Independent newspaper. The finalists for the People’s Choice Supermarket award were chosen by a panel of expert judges.

Sean Toal, The Co-operative Food’s commercial director, said: “Animal welfare is an important issue for The Co-operative and for our shoppers and members alike, so we’re absolutely delighted that we have picked up this award for the second year in succession. The fact that it has been voted for by the public makes it even more prestigious. Winning this award for two years running is a fantastic endorsement of our ongoing work to raise standards in animal welfare, while at the same time maintaining our commitment to excellent quality products, great stores and value for money.”

Broadcaster Richard Johnson, one of the panel of four judges in the food category, said:  “The Co-operative is committed to animal welfare, and is working hard to apply good principles across its product ranges. This has obviously struck a chord with the British public who selected it as the winner of the RSPCA People’s Choice Award. It is encouraging and reassuring to see such big retailers like The Co-operative actively listening to their customers and acting on the public desire for improvement in animal welfare.

“The Co-operative ensures all eggs used as ingredients in The Co-operative brand products are free range – a huge step forward for retailing. They’re a savvy operation and they know that their customers want to see steady improvement and a concern for animal welfare standards,” said Johnson.