PoultryUSA - October 2017 - 26
26 ❙ WATTPoultryUSA
among the first companies to commit to cage-free eggs
and gestation crate-free pork. It is a "very natural pattern within the food industry on addressing these issues," he adds.
Restaurant industry commitments
Up to this point, a comparable, if not larger, number
of restaurant chains have made broiler welfare commitments, though Thompson-Weeman pointed out that there
are many more restaurant chains in operation than foodservice providers.
Many of the early commitments were made by companies such as Panera Bread and Starbucks, which do
not source a large amount of chicken when compared to
others. One of the most recent commitments was made
by Focus Brands, which operates Mae's Southwest Grill,
Schlotzsky's, Carvel, Auntie Annes' and Cinnabon.
However, Auntie Anne's specializes in pretzels and
Cinnabon specializes in cinnamon rolls and other baked
goods, so those commitments will leave little impact on
the broiler industry.
Perhaps the two biggest purchasers of chicken to
make commitments are sandwich chain Subway and
Restaurant Brands International (RBI), which is the parent company of Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes.
However, RBI made its commitment prior to the completion of the Popeyes acquisition, and has not yet given a
clear timeline for when the Popeyes transition would be
Balk believes the list of restaurant brands to commit
to broiler welfare policies will rapidly grow.
"I think if we follow down this natural pattern, we're
going to see pretty much everyone announce a policy
over the next 12 months," he said.
He does not believe that a 12-month timeframe is
ambitious. Instead he views it as pessimistic, and said he
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ October 2017