The first offerings from Global Animal Partnership’s (G.A.P.) Better Chicken Project are available now at Whole Foods Market, sold under one of the retailer’s exclusive brands.
G.A.P.’s Better Chicken Project is described by the welfare group as an effort to establish a “research-based protocol for evaluating broiler chicken breeds based on behavior, meat quality, production and consistently superior welfare outcomes.” Whole Foods is the first retailer in the U.S. to offer chickens raised through the program via the LaBelle Patrimoine brand, found only at the retailer.
“We are incredibly proud to be a part of this program, which proves that the right combination of breed and animal welfare are what truly make a better chicken,” said Mike Charles, founder of Charles Brothers, Inc., the company that raises LaBelle Patrimoine’s chickens. “It has always been my mission to raise healthy, active broiler chickens of the highest quality and taste.”
Increased poultry standards have been seen across the grocery world in recent years, with several retailers committing to offering ethically raised chicken moving forward.
“G.A.P. 's certification and labeling requirements are built-in to every product bearing the new Better Chicken label," said Malissa Lucas, director of Certification Services at EarthClaims, LLC, the North American certifying agent for G.A.P. "I have visited these birds on farm, and it is impressive to observe their activity and energy levels, particularly the way they fully interact with their living environment."
Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods operates more than 510 stores across 44 U.S. states.