An insightful day at Hotels, Restaurants and Catering (HRC), ExCel, London. Some inspiring people, promoting innovative products and brands.
I discussed animal welfare with many brands, avoiding the growing range of vegan ones and unfortunately missing out on coffee, tea and alcohol!
The most exciting brand I found today was Fruitpig (www.fruitpig.co.uk), a specialist butcher who produces black pudding, using fresh blood from a pig abattoir in Norfolk. So passionate about his products and their provenance.
An interesting conversation with The Vogue Beds Group (www.voguebeds.co.uk) about where horse hair comes from! An animal based textile that had completely passed me by; now my new research project.
Then the most disappointing conversation. A stand which I was targeting, as it was a chicken supplier… my speciality! I had walked passed a few times, but they were either busy or off stand. When I did track them down, I was looking forward to a debate about chicken standards. Maybe discussing The Better Chicken Commitment and the challenges with Halal. How wrong could I be?
“We don’t slaughter so animal welfare isn’t important” and “nobody asks about animal welfare in foodservice” and “it isn’t possible for it all to be sourced from free range hens”!
Dinosaurs! Their branded product is stocked by major retailers and they see their competitor as Birds Eye. How out of tune can you be? Are consumers of frozen products so price conscious they don’t think they deserve to ask for good welfare or provenance?
It is time for this business to get real and re-think its philosophy. Perhaps time for retailers with strong animal welfare policies in their own brand to follow this through into branded product in store.
Animal welfare is important to every brand which sources animal based materials whether as food or textiles. It doesn’t mean “free range”. It means establishing a policy that sets out your brand values, communicating these to your customers/guests and working with your supply chain to deliver these values.
Unlike modern slavery, there is no legal requirement to publish an animal welfare policy, but there is a strong moral obligation.