The RSPCA is known for brandishing a big stick over food retailers’ track record on animal welfare. But this week it dangled a carrot instead, with the launch of a new awards scheme to recognise good practices.
The RSPCA said its Alternative Awards would reward grocers for improvements and achievements in animal welfare policies.
Winners will be permitted to use a new mark on packs, designed to communicate a retailer’s success to its customers.
A spokesman said research carried out by MORI in April showed that 73% of consumers believed that retailers should use suppliers with a proven animal welfare record, even if it meant a higher price for shoppers. He added: “The launch of the Alternative Awards comes with a clear warning to companies in the retail food industry that unless they shape up their animal welfare policies, they risk alienating customers and potentially losing market share.”
British Retail Consortium director general Kevin Hawkins, who will be one of the judges for the awards, said: “There are already a few companies making a contribution to improve animal welfare in food production and they should be recognised.”