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Danish pork label boosts meat sales

Consumers are on the lookout for improved animal welfare – 25% of the fresh pork currently being sold by Danish Crown to consumers in Denmark carries the new welfare label.

Sales of welfare pork are booming

by Jesper Olesen

“While Dyrenes Beskyttelse (Danish Animal Welfare Society) and Danish agriculture are engaged in a war of words about the conditions of domestic pig production, sales of meat carrying the new welfare label are booming”. 

“The new government-backed welfare label for fresh pork was launched three months ago and according to Tulip, the Danish Crown subsidiary, sales are rapidly rising”.
"Consumers have taken to the products in large numbers,” says Jakob Skovgaard, who is responsible for the Danish market at Tulip Food Company. "Our sales of pork carrying the welfare category 1 and 2 label now account for 15% of total sales of fresh meat at Tulip Food Company. Moreover, the Friland label and organic pork are also seeing growth, with overall sales of welfare pork now accounting for 25%.”
Skovgaard believes that the sales show that the Danes are ready to buy food that prioritises welfare standards.
"I would go as far as to describe the scheme the greatest innovation within fresh meat since the launch of organic products.”
The labelling scheme groups the meat into three categories – symbolised by hearts – according to the standard of welfare used in production.

Photo: Danish Veterinary and Food Administration

Photo: Danish Veterinary and Food Administration

"Pork is highly price sensitive,” says Mette Rothmann, Sales Director at Tulip Food Company. ”But now there is a much better opportunity to prioritise animal welfare standards in pork. The initiative is enjoying strong support – also from top restaurants and the new streetfood markets, which welcome our work with pigs.”

Dansk Supermarked Group comprising the Føtex, Bilka, Salling and Netto supermarkets, is one of the drivers behind the new label. The group’s Purchasing Director, Jeppe Dahl Jeppesen, reports significantly increased demand for pork produced with higher welfare standards and hopes the trend will continue.

Although the new label has the support of both Dansk Supermarked and the retail sector, including the supermarkets Dagrofa and Rema1000, Coop Danmark, decided not to come on board.

On the contrary, preparations for the new label gave rise to significant differences of opinion between the Coop and Dansk Supermarket last year.

Coop, Dyrenes Beskyttelse and the Danish Consumer Council criticised the new, voluntary, government-backed label for misleading consumers.

In response to the project, Coop, therefore, launched its own welfare label based on criteria drawn up by the Økologisk Landsforening (National Organic Association) and Dyrenes Beskyttelse (Danish Animal Welfare Society).

The Danish Animal Welfare Society is currently conducting a campaign against ”crated” pigs in Danish pig production – a campaign that the Danish Agriculture and Food Council describes as "desperate” and has joined forces with other stakeholders in the industry.