Billed as the “new fish”, because of its Omega-3 content, Columbus chicken represents the antithesis of the intensively produced, fat-heavy chickens featured in the recent C4 Dispatches programme Supermarket Secrets, said Jonathan Stannard.
Stannard introduced Omega-3 enriched eggs to the UK market through his company Belovo eight years ago. The eggs are stocked by Sainsbury, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, the Co-op, Kwik Save, Sainsbury and Somerfield.
He is now looking for support from British producers and retailers for the Columbus
chicken, currently produced in Belgium under the Coqard brand. British producers would use Columbus technology, including feed guidelines, to grow the broilers in the UK.
Based on a strain of jungle fowl and fed a vegetarian diet, the birds have “a perfect balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6”. The former is beneficial to the brain and general health, according to many scientific studies.
Many factory birds contain high levels of Omega-6 and low levels of Omega-3, says Stannard. He added that Columbus chicken would retail for less than organic and offers “great taste and nutritional content”.
Condemning the fast-growing, overweight birds featured in Supermarket Secrets, and the British obsession with cheap food, he said: “We can offer a chicken in factory-type situation that reflects a wild bird.”
Meanwhile, a British poultry farmer has spoken out in defence of his standards following the TV programme.
Rod Adlington of Coventry-based premium supplier Turkey Talk has condemned the poor welfare practices depicted and called for consumers to pay more for poultry to deter over-intensive production.
By Alyson Magee