Aldi is latest supermarket to give broiler birds more space

Broiler farmers who supply Aldi with fresh chicken must operate a stocking density 20% lower than the industry standard from October 2024.

The supermarket, which sources all its fresh chicken from British farms, is joining other retailers including Tesco and Co-op in setting new space requirements for poultry.

See also: Tesco moves to lower stocking rates for fresh chicken 

Red Tractor assurance stipulates a floor space of 38kg of live birds per square metre, but Aldi suppliers must not exceed 30kg/sq m when the new requirements come into force in the autumn.

The 30kg/sq m stocking rate is one of the requirements for retailers and food service outlets who have signed Compassion In World Farming’s Better Chicken Commitment (BCC).

However, the BCC also demands the use of slower-growing breeds of bird, to which Aldi and other supermarkets have not signed up.

Natural behaviour

Aldi says giving birds more space allows them to engage in natural behaviours including stretching wings, dust bathing and roaming. 

Birds on supplier farms must also continue to have increased access to environmental enrichment such as straw bales, perches, pecking objects and natural light.

Julie Ashfield, managing director of buying at Aldi UK, said animal welfare was of “paramount importance’’ to the company.

“We’re already one of the UK’s largest providers of responsibly farmed chicken and we’ve been working hard with our suppliers to reduce stocking density to help us improve the living conditions of these animals even further.”

Aldi said it was supporting suppliers with the transition to these higher welfare standards and that it had committed “significant multi-million pound financial support’’ to them for 2024/25.


While welcoming the recent changes on welfare grounds, the British Poultry Council (BPC) said one of the biggest challenges in meeting the new commitment while also maintaining supply is securing sufficient shed space.

Much will depend on the future approach to planning permission to increase the number of sheds and the BPC is poised to resume discussions with government after the general election.

Animal welfare group the Humane League is less than satisfied with the recent moves by Aldi and Tesco.

Campaigns manager Claire Williams said: “We will always celebrate improvements to the lives of animals, and Aldi are right to give their birds more space.

“However, while the wave of supermarket stocking density commitments brings us closer to the Better Chicken Commitment, the breed of birds is being neglected.

“Frankenchickens cannot thrive, no matter how much space they have.

“We need kinder methods of animal farming, and customers should not be duped into thinking that more space means high welfare.”