Marks and Spencer will be the first major retailer to sell only slower-reared, higher welfare, chicken across its full range of fresh chicken products.

From Autumn 2022, all fresh chicken sold by Marks and Spencer will be slower-reared, British and RSPCA Assured.

The slower-reared birds are fed on a multigrain diet, specifically designed to support their slower natural growth and muscle development, giving the chicken a great flavour and succulence.

Marks and Spencer food managing director, Stuart Machin said:

“Marks and Spencer has a long history of leading on animal welfare standards, working with our Select farmers we know and trust.

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"We were the first retailer to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment, the first major retailer to move to 100% Free Range eggs and all our pork is 100% outdoor bred.

We already have the biggest range of RSPCA Assured products on the market but we constantly want to raise the bar - that is why we are making this industry-leading commitment.

"It will lead to a step-change in UK farming standards and show customers that our determination to maintain the highest welfare standards means they will always get exceptional quality and trusted value at Marks and Spencer."

Current availability

Customers can already buy slower-reared chicken at Marks and Spencer, including whole chickens, portions and chicken breasts – from next year this standard will apply to all fresh chicken products.

RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said:

“With its move to RSPCA Assured in this category, Marks and Spencer has extended its already leading position and can assure its customers that they are buying higher welfare chicken, reared to the RSPCA’s high standards – throughout its entire range.

It’s a landmark achievement for animal welfare, which we hope will set a leading example for others in the sector.

"By simply switching to using only slower growing breeds of chicken, retailers can make an enormous difference to the lives and welfare of millions of chickens reared in this country every year for their meat."