The Co-operative is now selling all its fresh chicken with a higher welfare standard following responses from 100,000 UK customers to a poll on ethical policy.

All fresh primary range chicken sold by the supermarket is recorded to higher welfare Elmwood standards or above.

The initiative began in October 2007, when The Co-operative raised the standards to Elmwood for all fresh whole chickens and the move is now being rolled out to incorporate fresh plain chicken fillets and pieces.

High standards

Working with its suppliers, the retailer converted 96 poultry farms across the country to meet its higher-welfare Elmwood chicken standards.

Birds are grown in naturally-lit sheds and all the fresh core range chicken sold at the supermarket is British.

The Co-operative also stocks free range chicken, reared to RSPCA Freedom Food standards, and organic chicken reared outdoors to European organic standards.

This move to extend the Elmwood standard comes after a six-month consultation process with Co-operative members, which began last September.