World’s first with new animal welfare standard

Norsk Kylling is the first producer in the world to deliver large-scale production of chicken certified in accordance to a new animal welfare standard developed by leading animal welfare organisations. The Animal Welfare Alliance in Norway applauds.

Norsk Kylling will be the first large-scale producer in the world to meet the new animal welfare standards of the European Chicken Commitment. Ole Robert Reitan is CEO of Reitan Retail and Chairman of the Board of Norsk Kylling. Here together with the head of communication at the Animal Welfare Alliance in Norway, Live Kleveland. (Photo: Øyvind Breivik / Reitan Retail)

The new standard, European Chicken Commitment (ECC), was developed by the world's leading animal welfare organisations, including Anima and Compassion in World Farming (CiWF).

The standard contains several requirements that are significantly stricter than Norwegian or other countries' regulations, including the use of a slower growing chicken, more space, natural light and third-party control to ensure production according to requirements.

Norsk Kylling, which is owned by REMA 1000 and a part of Reitan Retail, becomes the first producer in the world to transform from fast-growing chicken production to now deliver on all these requirements.

Unique collaborative model
“This world news is the result of a unique collaborative model between farmers, animal rights activists and us in the industry. This is something we can all be proud," says Ole Robert Reitan, Chairman of the Board of Norsk Kylling and CEO of Reitan Retail.

"When working with food, we must make sure to produce what we can and import what we have to. In this case, we can imagine a situation where we export world-class Norwegian food," says Reitan.

A number of large, multinational food retailers have committed to implementing the standard by 2026, but so far only Norsk Kylling can deliver on the new requirements for giants such as KFC and IKEA.

"All the major players who have committed to the ECC standard are running out of time, because it won't be long until 2026. They are now turning their heads toward Norway, Trøndelag and Norsk Kylling to see and hear how we have done it. There is increased international interest in what is being done at Norsk Kylling," says Reitan.

Switched chicken type
Kjell Stokbakken, managing director of Norsk Kylling says that Norwegian farmers are world-class when it comes to animal welfare, but that the transition to more slow-growing chicken type and the establishment of the new ECC standard have given the farmers better framework conditions and animal welfare a significant boost.

"In 2018, we chose to transform our entire operation to use a more slow-growing type of chicken that lives longer, grows more slowly, is more active and generally leads better lives than the usual type of chicken used in Norway. The introduction of the ECC standard further improves animal welfare and reinforces Norsk Kylling's position as a leader in animal welfare throughout our production value chain," says Stokbakken.

Receiving praise from the Animal Welfare Alliance
“This is very, very good! We are proud to have contributed and glad that the chickens are better off," says Live Kleveland, head of communications at the Animal Welfare Alliance (Dyrevernalliansen) in Norway.

"For the Animal Welfare Alliance, of course, the most important thing is that the chickens now have more space and daylight, but it is also fun that this has happened as a result of cooperation," says Kleveland.

As of August 2022, all production in Norsk Kylling will be in accordance with ECC requirements.