Supply Chain
of »Chicken«

Learn how chicken meat makes its way from the farm to the refrigerated display case: Which challenges in feed and chicken farming have to be met? And how do PRO PLANET and the animal welfare initiative Tierwohl tackle them?

Dr Klaus Mayer, the Head of Quality Assurance at REWE Group, talks about REWE Group's supply chain in an interview

To the interview

Feed production

The chief ingredient used in the feed is frequently soybean meal, which is generally imported from South America and is made from genetically modified soybeans.

Open Feed productionClose Feed production

Industry-related challenges

Environment

  • Soybeans used in feed are frequently grown overseas in monoculture farming operations that use controversial genetically modified plants.
    The result:
    • Intensive applications of pesticides
    • The loss of good practical farming knowledge and
    • The loss of environmentally valuable areas, direct and indirect changes in land use
    • Release of CO2 trapped in the soil
    • Energy consumption by overseas transport

Social

  • Pressure on small-farming structures
  • Health risks for nearby residents and workers through the use of pesticides

What we are doing

PRO PLANET

The PRO PLANET label stands for the quality of chicken products sold by REWE Group:

  • No genetically modified feed
  • A step-by-step reduction of South American soybean meal and the increased use of European protein feed
4.5million
German imports 4.5 million tons of soybean meal each year
Feed production 25%
Total 75%
in %

About 25 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions in chicken meat production are created by feed production

Production

Chicken breeding and fattening: Chicken farming consists of three process steps: Breeder management (production of fertile hatching eggs), hatching eggs (from egg to day-old chick) and fattening (from day-old chick to ready-for-slaughter chicken). Fast-growing breeds reach their final weight in just about five weeks.

Transport: After being fattened, the animals are placed in specially designed transport crates and are then taken by truck to the nearest slaughterhouse.

Slaughter and dressing: In the process, the animals are slaughtered, deboned, cut up, processed and then packed for shipment to stores.

Open ProductionClose Production

700million
More than 700 million chicken are
slaughtered in Germany each year

Industry-related challenges

Animal welfare:

Chicken breeding and fattening:

  • Problematic farming conditions for the animals (including lack of space, and no run or activity opportunities)
  • Breeding designed for fast growth and meat yield
  • Lack of hygiene and excessive use of antibiotics (resulting in resistance to the medication)

Transport

  • Long transport distances in confined spaces with poor care on occasion.

Slaughter

  • Concerns about stunning and slaughtering methods.

Social

Slaughter and dressing:

  • A high number of temporary Eastern European workers along with occasionally poor working conditions and low pay

General

  • Strong seasonal fluctuations in meat demand

What we are doing

PRO PLANET

Working with the animal welfare organisation PROVIEH e.V. and its suppliers, REWE Group has developed measures designed to bring additional sustainability to chicken farming. One requirement placed on suppliers is improved farming standards (reduced animal density, pecking stones and straw balls in stalls). The aim is to improve animal welfare and reduce the use of antibiotics, among other things.

The mass-balance approach is used only in connection with changed animal farming conditions: The number of broiler chicken maintained under PRO PLANET requirements corresponds to the chicken meat volume sold under the PRO PLANET label. As a result of strong and spontaneous (seasonal) swings in demand for meat and the partial changeover by contract farmers, shortages will occur at times, and these shortages must be met with conventionally farmed broiler chickens that have never received genetically modified feed. This factor affects about 20 per cent of chicken products that bear the PRO PLANET label.

Initiative Tierwohl

REWE Group is one of the co-organisers of the animal welfare organisation Initiative Tierwohl, an alliance of farmers, meat processors and the food retail sector. The initiative works to improving farming conditions for pigs and poultry in Germany. Farmers who take steps that exceed legal farming standards for pigs and poultry can apply for financial support from the fund.

Logistics / Distribution

Processed meat products are sent directly to logistics centres. They are then shipped to REWE Group stores.

Open Logistics / DistributionClose Logistics / Distribution

Industry-related challenges

Environment

  • Transport-related greenhouse gas emissions

What we are doing

Logistik

  • Reducing the use of resources by employing optimised logistics (see Smart Logistics)

REWE Group Stores

In the final step, chicken products are sold in REWE Group stores or through the delivery service.

Open REWE Group StoresClose REWE Group Stores

Industry-related challenges

Environment

  • Energy-intensive refrigeration

What we are doing

Environment

  • Optimisation of refrigeration

General information:

  • Money for the Initiative Tierwohl's fund is provided by participating food retailers: They contribute four cents per kilogram of meat sold.
  • In future, the measures covering more animal friendly farming practices implemented as part of the PRO PLANET programme will be carried out in the Tierwohl initiative.
Circa 3% der CO₂-Emissionen entstehen durch die Produktion.
PRO PLANET 92%
Others 8%
in %
About 92 per cent of chicken meat sold by PENNY and REWE bears the PRO PLANET label, but the mass-balance approach is applied (see step 2 “Production”).
11.7kg
11.7 kilograms of chicken meat are consumed on a per capita basis in Germany (2013).

All figures that do not apply specifically to REWE Group were obtained from widely available business publications.

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