RSPCA seeks food retailers and supermarkets with welfare credentials for the 2008 RSPCA Good Business Awards, which recognise ethical business approaches to animal welfare.
UK Food retailers – large and small – are being urged to enter this year's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Good Business Awards, which recognise ethical business approaches to animal welfare. This follows evidence that consumers are increasingly demanding higher standards in the welfare of the food they buy.
According to new research, 57% of UK consumers see animal welfare as an important ethical issue to consider when buying a product, up from 48% a year ago. Human rights (55%) and protecting the environment (55%) are also considered important issues.
The Ipsos MORI poll, commissioned by the RSPCA, also found that 80% of the public agreed that in order for society to be truly civilised, animal welfare must be a key priority.
Further RSPCA research shows that recent TV programmes on the plight of the UK's meat chickens have changed consumer attitudes and had a direct effect on spending habits. Three quarters (73%) of us now buy free-range, freedom food or organic chicken, following the TV exposés presented by Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. * Last year's winners* Reflecting these consumer attitudes, the Good Business Awards recognise food retailers which set out to source their meat, fish, dairy products and eggs from suppliers that maintain high animal welfare standards, covering living conditions, transport, slaughter methods, labelling and farm inspection.
RSPCA Head of External Affairs David Bowles said: "Our research shows there is a growing demand for higher welfare supermarket meat, eggs and dairy products. Last year's Good Business Award food winners, Waitrose and Abel and Cole, have already taken huge leaps to improving policies and have set the standard for others to strive towards.
"Whether your company is large or small, our awards acknowledge and promote those that go the extra mile to include animal welfare as part of their ethical business policy".
All entries will be judged by an independent panel of industry experts and winners will be given the RSPCA Good Business Awards logo to use on relevant products and in promotions for an entire year, so customers can recognise their achievements. Winners will be promoted on the RSPCA website and achievements will be detailed in an ethical consumer guide.