A quarter of all British pigs are now being reared to Freedom Food standards, the charity has announced.

At present, 2.5m pigs are covered by the scheme, up by more than 400,000 on 2009, with 166,000 pigs added this year alone. The amount of pork products labelled with the Freedom Food marque has also risen, with volumes up 62% in 2010 against 2009.

The charity's CEO Leigh Grant said the rise in Freedom Food pigs and pork products showed there was demand for higher-welfare pork products even in economically hard times. "We hope we'll see a continued commitment to higher-welfare pork from retailers despite the recession," he said.

Cranswick County Foods account director Marcus Hoggarth added an increase in Freedom Food products was also good for producers. "It clearly adds value to our product and gives us an edge," he said.