RSPCA: Good farm animal welfare cost less than a box of chocolates

A bottle of wine, a DVD or a box of chocolates are just some of the treats we Brits indulge in every week but when it comes to the price of higher welfare food it seems many of us think that’s too expensive.

In a new survey to mark Farm Animal Week, 70 per cent of UK adults cited cost as being a reason for not buying more higher welfare food – such as Freedom Food, free range and organic.

However according to the RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme, the actual cost of a basket of higher welfare food can be as little as just over five pounds more than the cost of a non-higher welfare basket containing similar products* – less than the price of a box of chocolates. The majority (67 per cent) of people surveyed** thought the price difference would be significantly more, at seven pounds more (41%) or fifteen pounds more (26%).

Celebrity chef and farm animal welfare supporter Antony Worrall Thompson agrees that price perception can be a major barrier to buying higher welfare:

“I often meet people that just assume higher welfare food means a much higher cost, and simply rule out these labels without even checking the price. But as this survey shows, good welfare doesn’t always have to cost as much as you might think.

“A higher welfare chicken, such as Freedom Food, can cost just 86p more than a standard one – that’s less than the price of a lottery ticket. A small price to pay for good farm animal welfare.”

The survey also revealed that 38 per cent of UK adults would be prepared to give up one of their regular treats – such as lottery tickets, a bottle of wine or a takeaway – and spend the money instead on higher welfare food.

In response to this news Freedom Food is urging people during Farm Animal Week to switch one item in their trolley for a higher welfare alternative. Freedom Food spokesperson, Liam Kurzeja, explains:

“It’s a really simple message. We want people to spare a thought for farm animals when they are shopping this week and 'Switch one for Welfare'. Many of us have already stopped buying eggs from hens kept in battery cages, choosing barn or free range instead. We would like people to go one step further and look for the higher welfare Freedom Food logo on products like pork, chicken and salmon.

“And if you are eating out, don't forget many pubs and restaurants now offer higher welfare food – you can find many that do on our 'Simply Ask' restaurant finder.”


Notes to editors:

— All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2057 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th – 11th July 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
— *Pricing is based on a comparison carried out on Sainsbury’s online on 20 July 2011, between the following Freedom Food labelled products and similar non-higher welfare products:

Freedom Food basket Non-Freedom Food basket
4 Chicken breasts (590g) £8.84 (£14.99kg 4 Chicken breasts £7.07 (£11.99/kg)
Whole chicken £5.00 (£3.57/kg)    Same size whole chicken £4.14 (£2.96/kg)
Taste the Difference Sausages: (x8) – £3.45 (based on price of 6: 400g at £2.59 (£6.48/kg) Richmond sausages (x8) – 454g at £2.09 (£4.60/kg)
Fresh salmon fillets x 2: £4.00 (£16.67/kg)      Equivalent weight in Youngs frozen salmon fillets £2.65 (£11.08/kg)
Salmon fish cakes x 2 £1.25 (£6.94/kg)       Cod fish cakes x 2 £1.25 (6.94/kg)
£22.54 £17.20

Price difference: £5.34

— ** Respondents were asked:
Thinking about the price of a shopping basket which contains packs of 4 chicken breasts, 1 whole chicken, 2 farmed salmon fillets, 8 sausages and 2 fish cakes…
Which ONE of the following is closest to how much more or less you think the basket would cost if it contained only RSPCA Freedom Food higher welfare products, compared to a non-higher welfare basket containing the same products?
Responses: £15, £7, £4 more, the same price, £4, £7, £15 less

— For more information on Farm Animal Week visit

— Freedom Food is a registered charity and non-profit making. It is not responsible for the pricing of Freedom Food labelled products. Freedom Food is the RSPCA’s farm animal welfare assurance and food labelling scheme. All Freedom Food members including farms, hauliers, processors, packers and abattoirs receive annual assessments and visits from RSPCA livestock officers to check standards are maintained. Freedom Food was set up in 1994 to help improve the lives of animals farmed for food and to act as a catalyst for change through the food and farming industry.