Blue Apron tries to 'meat' consumer expectations
Blue Apron is elevating its value proposition to consumers by elevating its food standards.
The company announced a slew of changes regarding the animal welfare practices throughout its supply chain and also detailed additional goals to drive further progress in its animal welfare work.
Blue Apron’s animal welfare standards were recognized this month at the 2018 Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards hosted by Compassion in World Farming, an international farm animal welfare organization and leading expert in farm animal welfare. At the organization’s annual awards ceremony in Paris, Blue Apron became one of the first U.S. companies awarded the prestigious Good Chicken Award, in recognition of the company’s commitment to using higher welfare chicken in its supply chain.
“We believe that a critical component of any successful food company is the responsibility––to our customers, suppliers, and the industry at large––to ensure the health and well-being of animals raised throughout our supply chain,” said Tim Smith, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Consumer Products at Blue Apron. “We are honored to receive Compassion in World Farming’s Good Chicken Award in recognition of the accomplishments we have made in our broiler chicken supply, and are proud to share our comprehensive animal welfare standards and future sourcing commitments with the public.”
More than half of U.S. consumers (58%) are more concerned about food animal welfare now than they were just a few years ago, according to a recent report, “Animal Welfare: Issues & Opportunities in the Meat, Poultry & Egg Markets in the U.S.” In the report, by market research firm Packaged Facts, “animal welfare” encompasses key areas that include housing, handling, feeding and slaughter.
Blue Apron highlighted a list of its current progress on animal welfare across its supply chain:
- Laying Hens (Eggs): 100% of Blue Apron’s fresh eggs come from pasture-raised laying hens. By comparison, less than 1% of the eggs sold in the U.S. today are pasture-raised.
- Pigs (Pork): 100% of Blue Apron’s pork comes from pigs raised in group sow housing systems or in systems that do not use gestation crates.
- Cattle (Beef): 40% of Blue Apron’s beef comes from grass-fed cattle that were raised entirely on pasture. By comparison, less than 6% of the beef sold in the U.S. today is grass-fed and pasture-raised.
- Poultry (Broiler Chickens): Over 10% of Blue Apron’s broiler chicken supply is pasture-raised by a Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Step 4-certified producer utilizing higher welfare breeds. Blue Apron’s remaining broiler chicken supply is raised in enhanced welfare indoor systems with 100% vegetarian feed and without the use of antibiotics ever. Today, less than 1% of chicken sold in the U.S. is pasture-raised, and an even smaller percentage is both pasture-raised and GAP Step 4-certified.
- Antibiotics: None of the animals in Blue Apron’s supply chain are ever given subtherapeutic antibiotics. Additionally, Blue Apron requires that all of its meat, poultry and egg suppliers promptly treat animals in the event that they become sick and their welfare requires it.
- Growth Promoters: None of the animals in Blue Apron’s supply chain are ever given growth promoters, such as added hormones, subtherapeutic antibiotics, or beta-agonists.
In addition to maintaining its current progress, Blue Apron has pledged to work with its suppliers to further improve the welfare of animals raised throughout its supply chain. Below are some of the goals that Blue Apron has set as part of its policy and intends to achieve in the coming years.
- Pigs (Pork): 100% of Blue Apron’s pork supply today comes from pigs raised in group sow housing systems or in systems that do not use gestation crates. By the end of 2019, Blue Apron is committed to ensuring that 100% of Blue Apron’s pork supply will be Certified Humane or GAP Step 1-certified.
- Cattle (Beef): As mentioned above, 40% of Blue Apron’s beef supply today comes from grass-fed cattle that were raised entirely on pasture. By the end of 2019, Blue Apron is committed to ensuring that 50% or more of its beef supply comes from grass-fed cattle raised entirely on pasture.
- Poultry (Broiler Chickens): Blue Apron is working toward 100% of its broiler chicken supply meeting the following standards by the end of 2023: Transition to strains of birds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes that meet the criteria of the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol or GAP. Reduce stocking density to a maximum of 6 lbs./sq. ft. and provide birds enriched environments that, at a minimum, meet GAP Step 4 standards on litter, lighting, and enrichment. Process broiler chickens in a manner that avoids pre-stun handling and instead utilizes a multi-step controlled atmosphere processing system that induces an irreversible stun. Demonstrate compliance with the above standards via third party auditing. Currently, more than 10% of Blue Apron's broiler chicken supply today meets or exceeds these standards, with the exception of the controlled atmosphere processing system requirement.
- All Meat and Poultry: In addition, by the end of 2019, Blue Apron is committed to ensuring that 100% of Blue Apron’s beef, pork and broiler chicken supply will come from sources that meet GAP Step 1, Certified Humane, or higher standards.