Ahold Delhaize is a passionate supporter of the well-being and welfare of farm animals. Ahold Delhaize acknowledges animal consciousness and therefore embraces the globally recognized five freedoms (freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behavior and freedom from fear or distress) of animal welfare as the basis of this approach. Our great local brands are working to address animal testing, growth promoting substances, routine mutilations, close confinements and stress during slaughter and transport.
Scope and performance reporting
The local brands are working to translate this global policy into day-to-day decision making. Our approach covers Ahold Delhaize’s ambitions for stronger animal welfare standards as they relate to own-brand whole or single ingredient products derived from farm animals. The brands comply at least to applicable legislation and are working to go further by continuously refining approaches and seeking better practices. Ahold Delhaize cannot achieve this on its own and makes use of valuable horizontal and vertical collaborations. Some examples are the joining of multi-stakeholder initiatives like GRSB, SAI Beef (ERBS), Sustainable Dairy Partnership and GlobalG.A.P (for pork and chicken).
For Global commitments we disclose information in our annual report or at our website. For specific region or brand progress, we refer to our local brand’s information.
Ahold Delhaize does not support the testing of own brand food, pharmaceutical or cosmetic products and their ingredients on animals, nor do we ask suppliers of our own brand products to conduct animal testing on our behalf, unless we have a legal obligation to do so. In the case of pet-food testing, the preference is to use kennel-animals.
Beta antagonists are sometimes used in livestock production to enhance growth and alter body composition. The use of beta antagonists for growth-promoting purposes in farm animals is defined as illegal by the European Union. Despite the use being legal in the USA, the rising demand from consumers seeking meat raised in more natural conditions has stimulated the USA brands to promote meat from livestock that are not fed with beta antagonists and to support the producers who are voluntarily phasing them out.
Live animal transport and slaughtering
Ahold Delhaize understands that farm animals are especially vulnerable to stress during transport and slaughter. Therefore, we are committed to limiting live long-distance transport of farm animals across all species to no more than 8 hours. Furthermore, it is our aim that animal-based products come from farm animals that have been rendered unconscious and insensible to pain before harvest through effective stunning in a single attempt. To offer all customers a suitable choice, we accept alternative practices for religious slaughter.
Cage-free laying hens
Ahold Delhaize brands are making progress in their commitment to phase out the sales of shell-eggs from hens housed in cages. At the end of 2020, over 30% of own brand and national brand shell eggs in Ahold Delhaize brand assortment were cage free.
We believe the existing and new commitments are the best way to persuade the egg-industry to quickly start making the significant investments needed to go “cage-free”. Our brands will remain in a continuous dialogue with the industry to improve the well-being of hens and make production more sustainable.
Ahold Delhaize understands there are several confinement concerns regarding gestation stalls for breeding pigs or sows. Our European brands comply with EU legislation and our local USA brands are committed to eliminate the use of gestation stalls by 2025 or sooner.
Ahold Delhaize understands the significance of antimicrobials in both human and animal medicine and the threat from improper use in livestock supply chains. Some of these antimicrobials are also used in human medicine and, if overused, can lead to increased antimicrobial resistance.
Ahold Delhaize believes that antimicrobials used in animal medicine, when applied responsibly and under veterinarian oversight for treatment of disease or injury, promotes good animal welfare and that antimicrobials should not be used unless the well-being of an animal is endangered. Ahold Delhaize supports the reduced use of antimicrobials medically critical to humans on farm animals.
Ahold Delhaize does not support the prophylactic use of antimicrobials in animal farming, or their use as growth promoters. Our local brands will continue working with their suppliers to responsibly reduce antimicrobial use in animal farming, especially those considered by the World Health Organization to be critically important for human health. Some of our brands offer products from animals that were raised without the use of antibiotics.
Super Indo’s Shell Egg Commitment
Animal welfare is a topic that we care about greatly and we share the concerns raised about the well-being of egg-laying hens. In recent years, our brands have made commitments toward a 100% “cage-free” assortment.
Since mid-March 2021, Ahold Delhaize’s joint venture Super Indo, has added cage-free eggs to its assortment in 15 stores, supported by a comprehensive customer education campaign to help customers understand the benefits of cage-free eggs. Super Indo commits to offering cage free eggs in all its stores by 2022. Ultimately, Super Indo is committed to move towards a 100% cage-free egg assortment. As we roll out the cage-free egg assortment, we aim to learn more so that we can put an informed timeline to this commitment.
Local availability of cage-free eggs and the adoption by local customers are critical in expanding the assortment. Local availability of cage-free eggs is scarce due to lack of supply and local customer adoption is slow, as the added production costs translate to steeper prices. For both of these reasons, this campaign will be an ongoing endeavor, working closely with suppliers, government, and partners and inspiring other Indonesian food companies to join in making cage-free eggs the standard in Indonesian grocery retail and to fulfill Super Indo’s commitment.