For many, meat is a vital source of protein and micronutrients and forms an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, given the environmental and social challenges associated with meat production, there is a clear requirement to ensure it is produced in the most sustainable manner possible.
The majority of meat proteins which we source are used within our Kerry Foods division, where we produce added value branded and customer branded chilled foods for the UK and Irish consumer foods markets.
We know that there is a significant environmental footprint associated with meat based products, much of which occurs at farm level. The contribution of livestock to global emissions, pollution and links to deforestation are some of the key environmental challenges facing the industry.
We work with many suppliers who are already employing leading farm practices. We continue to engage with them, and other industry partners, to examine ways to reduce the direct environmental impacts and the risk of deforestation associated with feed production.
We also understand that Animal welfare is a key concern for our customers and consumers of our meat products. Kerry’s approach to this issue is informed by the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s (FAWC) internationally recognised ‘Five Freedoms’ and the Group’s Animal Welfare Statement sets out the minimum requirements which must be met by suppliers.
We acknowledge the positive impact that antibiotics can have on animal health and welfare, however, there are valid concerns regarding the use of antibiotics in animals raised for food. Where such treatments are used within our supply chain, they must be administered responsibly and in accordance with relevant EU regulation, as outlined in our Meat Position Statement.
All of the meat used within Kerry Foods is sourced from approved farms and in 2018 our responsible sourcing and procurement teams have been working with suppliers to better understand the challenges within our most significant meat categories; Chicken, Pork and Beef.
Our work has focused on a number of areas that are critical for more sustainable meat production and our engagment with suppliers has been based around practices at farm level. Our areas of focus include:
- Animal Welfare
- Antibiotic Use
- Animal Feed
Assessments to date have confirmed that there is already much good work underway. 87% of suppliers across our top three meat categories have third party certification in place covering animal welfare criteria and antibiotic use, while two thirds are seeking to address the risk of deforestation linked to animal feed. We continue to engage with these and other stakeholders to progress this work and understand how we can support further improvements.