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#1 Tue 03 Feb 09 3:51pm

pennysaints

Forum champ
Occupation "Homemaker" and lovin it!
From Southampton
Member since Tue 10 Oct 06

Tesco's Reply to the Chicken Question!!!

I wrote to tesco's letting them know, that I completely disagree with their stance on the rearing of so called "cheap" chicken.  As a result of their attitude and the total disregard they have a for publicly backed campaign, that will only improve the short lives of these birds should small measures be taken. I have changed greatly the way I shop and no longer feel that I want to buy any meat products from Tesco. That this could be verified by looking at my club card points history. In fact I now spend less than £20 a week with them, as opposed to £100+ 9 months ago! This was their response :

Like most other major retailers we offer a variety of chicken. Our choice is wide to meet the different requirements of our diverse customers, from our Finest chicken (free-range and corn-fed) to Organic, Willow Farm (a more affordable Freedom Food chicken), standard and Value chicken. For our lower-income customers, we know that price is particularly important – especially now in the recession. We do not believe that, for our less-affluent customers, ending sales of Value chicken would lead to genuine welfare improvements: such customers, anxious to feed their families, would simply shop elsewhere. I can assure you that all other major retailers currently sell the equivalent of value chicken. Our approach is to engage all our customers, ensure they can feed their families properly on tightening budgets, and give them all the information and choice they need to move onto higher welfare products as and when they are able to do so. And whether our chickens are Value or Finest, we insist on high levels of welfare throughout the supply chain.  By way of example, we use sawdust bales in all chicken sheds: all the other major retailers, including Sainsburys, do not use these bales for their standard chicken. The bales are used to stand on, encouraging more movement and perching – both important natural behaviours. We back this up with independent audits of our suppliers across all chicken ranges to ensure that standards are being met. We are the only major supermarket whose inspections go beyond the Assured Chicken Production standards for farm audits. All our chicken is labelled very clearly. For Willow Farm, the Freedom Food logo is clearly shown. As with other retailers, our standard and Value British chicken carries the Red Tractor logo, reflecting the Farm Assurance standards we uphold. Our website clearly states the conditions all birds are kept in and illustrates this with photographs – as you can see at www.tescofarming.com/v2/livestock_chicken.asp  The encouraging news is that this approach of providing clear information and choice is showing real success. Promoting higher welfare chicken has helped large numbers of customers to switch over the last year. Sales of our Freedom Food Willow Farm chicken, for example, are up 86% year on year, enabling us to build on our success as the UK’s biggest retailer of Freedom Food chicken. As Hugh's programme was filmed last summer, we did not have the opportunity to include more recent improvements our agriculture team have put in place. For example, all our suppliers' new sheds are now being built with windows so that we can respond quickly to increasing customer demand for Freedom Food chicken. We pressed Government to establish a new forum on chicken welfare which would involve everyone in whole industry – including Hugh. When the first meeting took place last November we led the debate on how to achieve future improvements. We are also participating in a project with industry groups, including Compassion in World Farming, to ensure all welfare standards are communicated clearly and help give customers more detailed information with which to make an informed choice.  Kind Regards  Tesco Customer Service.



This sounds like the same rhetoric poured out on Thursday's program to Jamie.
I would love to hear how forum members feel about Tesco's reply please,

Thanks Penny

Last edited by pennysaints (Tue 03 Feb 09 3:52pm)

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#2 Tue 03 Feb 09 4:41pm

rasher

Member
Occupation Structural Engineer & father of 3
From Brighton
Member since Mon 07 Mar 05

Re: Tesco's Reply to the Chicken Question!!!

They're not going to shift, are they.

Last Sunday the children requested a lemon & basil chicken casserole, so I went to Asda.  Being a complete cheapskate myself, I wanted to get something reasonable without spending too much, so from Asda, I bought 2 packs of chicken legs, nice plump ones and more than enough for a 3, 6 & 11 year old.  Two legs per pack, they were IIRC £1.75 & £2.05, so a total of £3.80 for 3 children. 

Chucked in an oven dish, nice glug of olive oil, chopped garlic and a lemon squeezed on and the remaining lemon thrown in for good measure, with a handful of basil added for the last 10 minutes, served with rice & broccoli.  I gave it an hour in the oven.

Cheap enough, huh?

This is the clincher though....that chicken was indeed not only free range, but ORGANIC!

Now.... we can beat ourselves up trying to change losers like Tesco, or we can just go and support supermarkets like Asda who are trying to do the right thing AND keep the price down too, so the argument about customers having to be affluent just isn't relevant anymore.  I expect in the process and the squeeze this puts on the organic farmers raises other issues, but as a start, I think this is pretty good.  The chicken breasts are significantly more expensive, so I guess they make it back there, but I must say I was fairly impressed with what I bought, and the children gave me the big thumbs-up.

I wonder if enough people getting organic chicken at Asda would eventually abandon Tesco altogether, except that I'm not really sure the target customers here really care that much.  The excuse in these TV programmes is always money, but that seems to be a lie.  These people always say that whilst sitting in front of a pint in a pub (£2.80) and sucking down on a Benson & Hedges (£5.50/pk).  However much we like to think otherwise, in truth, they couldn't care less.  sad

Last edited by rasher (Tue 03 Feb 09 4:44pm)

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#3 Tue 03 Feb 09 6:55pm

pennysaints

Forum champ
Occupation "Homemaker" and lovin it!
From Southampton
Member since Tue 10 Oct 06

Re: Tesco's Reply to the Chicken Question!!!

rasher,
I totally agree, Asda is one of several places I now use for my shopping, along with local butchers and farmers markets. big_smile

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#4 Tue 03 Feb 09 7:17pm

john_lee

Member
Occupation Teacher and Writer
From Wales and Italy
Member since Mon 10 Oct 05

Re: Tesco's Reply to the Chicken Question!!!

I'd be willing to bet that many people who buy value chickens roast them, eat the breasts and maybe the drumsticks, and chuck the rest away. If you have the wherewithall to be a bit creative, you can stretch a free range chicken oout to two or three meals - chicken soup, chicken rosotto, chicken pie, etc.

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#5 Tue 03 Feb 09 9:40pm

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Tesco's Reply to the Chicken Question!!!

What about people who are really on a low income like pensioners? They might buy these and use them completely. I don't think you can make use assumptions on the price of the chicken.

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#6 Tue 03 Feb 09 10:16pm

john_lee

Member
Occupation Teacher and Writer
From Wales and Italy
Member since Mon 10 Oct 05

Re: Tesco's Reply to the Chicken Question!!!

I did qualify the above with the word many, of course their will be exceptions. I have just noticed that many people I know or know of who don't give a **** about the origins of their food, and who expect cheap food, place very little value on it - kind of a throw away mentality.

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#7 Wed 04 Feb 09 6:28am

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Tesco's Reply to the Chicken Question!!!

If they don't care, should we? Apart from wanting to have variety for ourselves?

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#8 Wed 04 Feb 09 11:48am

rasher

Member
Occupation Structural Engineer & father of 3
From Brighton
Member since Mon 07 Mar 05

Re: Tesco's Reply to the Chicken Question!!!

About cruelty to animals and whether the food we give our children is so toxic it gives them cancer?  Yeah, certainly we should care. 
There will always be those that select what they buy in a supermarket and then buy a hot-dog from a van and don't see the connection , and it's for this reason that change has to come - to protect those that find it hard to protect themselves.
Children will eat what they are given.  I'd like to think we can have basic food standards that protect those children that don't come from affluent middle-class families that are well informed on these subjects.  If we are able to see what is going on here, we should care enough to try and change things for us and for those who won't change things themselves.  We should look after each other.

It's a shame about Tesco because they are otherwise a good supermarket and have what I need, but I can't go there anymore out of principle.  I just won't go there now.

Last edited by rasher (Wed 04 Feb 09 11:51am)

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#9 Wed 04 Feb 09 4:27pm

sandslane

Member
Member since Wed 04 Feb 09

Re: Tesco's Reply to the Chicken Question!!!

i havnt shopped in tesco for four years now out of principle we are all healthy and dont miss them at all i buy my meat from local producers who i know and trust to give their animals a good life before they end up as food, the taste is far superior to anything i ever got in a supermarket and as for the cost being higher i would rather pay more for less food and have peace of mind and quality meat than have a platefull of tasteless meat and know the cruelty these animals suffered to provide my meal,we are now being educated through these programs and can no longer live in blissful ignorance.

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#10 Wed 04 Feb 09 4:34pm

rasher

Member
Occupation Structural Engineer & father of 3
From Brighton
Member since Mon 07 Mar 05

Re: Tesco's Reply to the Chicken Question!!!

Well, all that good quality meat you've had over the past 4 years has certainly helped you hold your breath for a long time.  wink

Last edited by rasher (Wed 04 Feb 09 4:35pm)

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