July 27, 2021

German supermarket chain, Aldi, has announced plans to stop selling meat from farms with poor animal welfare standards by 2030.

Global organisation Greenpeace has praised the retailer, and expressed hope that other food retailers in Germany will follow Aldi’s example. 

“The customer is ready,” Aldi said in a statement, citing increasing sales of sustainably produced goods and a change in consumer awareness as the reasons behind its decision.

The president of the German Animal Welfare Federation, Thomas Schroeder, also welcomed the company’s decision to uphold higher standards for animal treatment, but critics say that the move will make meat more expensive in the sausage-loving federal republic.

Schroeder said: “From our point of view, the current legal basis for the keeping of animals in agriculture is not sufficient to ensure animal welfare.”

Renate Kuenast of the Green party accused the government of being “overtaken” by the food industry on the issue of animal welfare and of being too slow to work out new meat production methods with farmers 

Germany’s animal welfare rating system measures the amount of space the animals have and whether they have access to outdoor space, as well as the quality of their feed, care and health monitoring. 

In German supermarkets, meat is sold according to the ratings – the scale goes from one to four, with one being the poorest conditions. Level four guarantees at least twice as much space as level one, as well as permanent access to outdoor space. 

Aldi has set an ambitious target to make all its meat produce to adhere to levels three and four by 2030.

To achieve this, the company is working quickly to make sure that 15% of meat in its stores adhere to levels three and four by the end of 2021, and hopes to increase this to 33% by 2026. The company also plans to stop selling the lowest animal welfare meat, such as those rated “level one”, completely by 2025. International and frozen goods will however not be subject to the new strict standards.

Lidl addresses its animal welfare strategy

Lidl, meanwhile, is adding animal welfare labels to sausages sold under its private-label brand Metzgerfrisch.

The label is now being extended to sausages after it was initially added to the fresh meat range in 2018. It indicates the level of animal husbandry standards in the supply chain and helps consumers make conscious choices.

The next step will see the company extend the animal welfare label to the ‘Dulano’ private-label range.

The retailer aims to introduce the label across all own-brand sausage products.

In February of this year, Lidl Switzerland labelled its meat products with an animal welfare ratings from the Swiss animal welfare organisation STS.

Lidl also plans to achieve a level 2 for private-label sausage products as a minimum standard by 2025. This level ensures that animals have more space and come from farms that offer better living conditions than basic legal requirements.

Lidl was one of the first retailers to introduce the husbandry compass, a four-step model that gives customers information about the living conditions of livestock used in products.

The retailer also emphasised that it is important for farmers to be involved in the process aimed at creating better animal welfare standards.

As a founding member of the Tierwohl (ITW) initiative, Lidl has pledged to make meat production more animal-friendly and sustainable.

The voluntary action alliance brings together actors from the entire value chain in the pork and poultry meat industry to improve animal welfare standards in farms across Germany.

The retailer has also pledged to support farmers involved in the Animal Welfare Initiative with over €50 million in 2021.

Last year, Lidl Denmark announced the introduction of an animal welfare label to its fresh chicken offering.

Click here to read more about Aldi and Lidl

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