National food retailer Marks & Spencer has announced that from autumn 2022, it will sell only slower-reared, higher welfare, chicken across its full range of fresh chicken products. The slower-reared birds will be fed on a multigrain diet, specifically designed to support their slower natural growth and muscle development, giving the chicken a great flavour and succulence.

M&S claims it will be the first major retailer to move to slower-reared chicken. The company says it has the highest animal welfare standards in the market and changing to only selling fresh chicken that is slower-reared, British and RSPCA-assured demonstrates its continued leadership and commitment in this area. Customers can already buy slower-reared chicken at M&S, including whole chickens, portions and chicken breasts, but from next year the standard will apply to all fresh chicken products.

Stuart Machin M&S Food Managing Director, says: “M&S has a long history of leading on animal welfare standards, working with our M&S Select farmers we know and trust. We were the first retailer to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment, the first major retailer to move to 100% Free Range eggs and all our pork is 100% outdoor bred.

“We already have the biggest range of RSPCA Assured products on the market but we constantly want to raise the bar – that is why we are making this industry-leading commitment. It will lead to a step-change in UK farming standards and show customers that our determination to maintain the highest welfare standards means they will always get exceptional quality and trusted value at M&S.”