Our snack producer is increasingly developing its own policy and line of approach when purchasing raw materials, and is less inclined to follow the web of institutions and organizations in the sector in which a certification industry is gradually developing. Their inspiration mainly derives from their company’s origin, in which they produce the most delectable snacks using sophisticated methods. In this context, they look for high quality, sustainable raw materials with a strong focus on the availability, affordability and therefore the economic value of these raw materials to the snacks.
As of now, our producer uses its own animal welfare label called in Dutch (Beter Welzijn), in English, Better Welfare. This indicates that the meat in the products come from animals that lived under better conditions than required by the applicable European legislation. In this, they are using a step by step approach to move to this higher welfare level, snack by snack.
The producer consciously chose to introduce her own label because it is not realistic for them to cover the necessary volume with a single existing certification label and to be able to justify the possible extra cost to the consumer. They follow their own approach, in which she strives for an optimal balance between animal welfare, quality, availability, affordability, safety and the environment. That is why for the “Beter Welzijn” label, they only use meat from producers that adhere to more stringent standards than the law requires in the area of animal welfare. This meat comes from various ‘plus’ streams that satisfy the list of welfare criteria producer has drawn up.
Producer’s ambition is ultimately to purchase all her chickens and pork at this elevated animal welfare level. They begin by focusing on chicken and pork because this is where the issue of animal welfare is the greatest, and this is where we can make a difference/impact.
Aside from our producer’s “Beter Welzijn” label, we also use the “Beter Leven”, “Better Life” certification label on our brands.
The chicken we use in products with a “Beter Welzijn” label largely comes from laying hens, which are chickens that have been used to lay eggs and that have at least lived at the free run level (but also free range, organic, etc.). These laying hens come from streams with criteria that exceed legal requirements for living space (at least free run in a barn), stimulation material, natural day and night rhythm with adequate light, and no preventive use of antibiotics. We also use broiler meat for our “Beter Welzijn” concept. For this, we use various concepts, with slow-growing breeds directed by retail. These positive streams also exceed the legal requirements in terms of natural day and night rhythm with adequate light, and no preventive use of antibiotics.
The pork we currently use in products with a “Beter Welzijn” label comes from ‘plus’ streams. This meat comes from pigs that have more living space per pig, more types of stimulation material, and have shorter transport between the farm and slaughterhouse.
Virtually all the beef we use for our beef croquettes comes from the EU. Various collaborations have also been started with specific cattle breeds such as Natuurvlees cattle in cooperation with Sligro. These are cows that roam free in nature areas. We also work with Lakenvelder beef under the Van Dobben brand and increasingly purchase Beter Leven beef for our croquettes.
With respect to packaging, producer now purchases in the ‘chain of custody’ (which means the origin is fully traceable) without everything having to be certified. One example is the folding cartons that she purchases according to the PEFC or FSC certification label; each link in the supply chain is COC certified. If producer still had to be awarded the FSC certification label for folding cartons on top of all this, this would be no more than a purely administrative action that would involve unnecessarily higher costs without any added value for the environment.
With respect to the oil our snack producer uses in our snacks, this is entirely of vegetable origin and contains at least 70% unsaturated fat. At the end of 2014, producer changed over to 100% Segregated* palm oil for all our palm oil requirements. Since October 2016, our producer has been RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified. Our snack producer is currently investigating whether she could impose the 100% Segregated requirement on her suppliers too, for example in spice mixtures that include oil as an ingredient.
To make sure producer suppliers remain in harmony with the choices that she wants to make in its CSR policy, the company drew up rules of conduct in mid-2014 and distributed these among its employees and all relevant business contacts. We are endeavoring to achieve a durable partnership with our suppliers, and we prefer to work with parties that do business in the spirit of these rules. We are getting feedback from the market to the effect that more and more food companies want to operate on the basis of a code of conduct like ours.
Segregated* palm oil means that sustainably produced palm oil is kept completely separate from non-sustainably produced palm oil throughout the entire supply chain.