New RSPCA Assured food label hits supermarket shelves

A new ethical food label – assured by the RSPCA – has been launched in a bid to help improve the lives of a further 100 million farm animals, plus many millions of farmed salmon and trout, in the next five years.

As reported in The Grocer the RSPCA Assured label replaces the RSPCA’s Freedom Food mark on eggs, meat, dairy products and fish sold in supermarkets and shops throughout the UK.

The new label makes it easy to find products from animals that have had a better life.

RSPCA Assured means the product has come from a farm inspected to the RSPCA’s higher welfare standards – whether it is an indoor, outdoor, organic or free range farm.

These standards include, for example, giving animals plenty of space to move around, natural light and things to do such as straw bales for chickens to peck at or straw for pigs to root around in.

The RSPCA is concerned about the welfare of many farmed animals and the new label has been launched in a major push to help more of them have a better life. Mike Tomlinson, chairman of the RSPCA, explains:

“About one thousand million animals are farmed for food each year in the UK and we are concerned that the welfare of many of them needs to be improved.

“Whilst many millions of animals have already benefitted from being farmed to the RSPCA’s welfare standards, under the RSPCA’s Freedom Food logo, the new RSPCA Assured label aims to really boost this number.

“In the next five years alone we hope to help improve the lives of about 100 million more farm animals, plus many millions of salmon and trout.”

And, according to the charity, the move to the RSPCA Assured label also has the potential to significantly increase the amount of labelled products available in shops and supermarkets.

Jeremy Cooper, chief executive of the RSPCA Assured scheme, comments:

“Ninety-six per cent of people recognise the RSPCA brand, compared to 24% for Freedom Food.

“Greater recognition of the new label means more people will choose RSPCA Assured products.  We estimate the amount of RSPCA Assured labelled food could increase by as much as 200% in the next five years.

“And put simply the more people choose RSPCA Assured products, the more supermarkets will stock them and more farm animals will have a better life.”

RSPCA Assured products are being rolled out into Sainsbury’s, Aldi, The Co-operative and Lidl this month.  And the new label will continue replacing the Freedom Food label on products in supermarkets and shops over the next 12 months.

A TV advertising campaign to promote the new label will launch in September.

For more information visit

Notes to editors

?       The RSPCA Assured label is the new consumer marketing brand of Freedom Food and stands for the same welfare standards as the Freedom Food label it is replacing – therefore higher welfare standards developed by the RSPCA

?       It is is only the label on pack that is changing – the standards and operation of the scheme will remain the same. Therefore Freedom Food will continue to be the farm assurance scheme that carries out assessments and markets the scheme

?       Freedom Food is a charity in its own right and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the RSPCA

?       There are currently about 40 million terrestrial farm animals – plus many millions of salmon and trout – being farmed under the RSPCA Assured scheme

?       About a third of all UK pig production, 50 per cent of egg laying hens and more than 70 per cent of Scottish farmed salmon are farmed to RSPCA welfare standards

?       For a product to be RSPCA Assured labelled all aspects of an animal’s life must have been covered by the RSPCA’s welfare standards including on farm, in transport and at the abattoir.  RSPCA standards must also be met by the processor and packer

?       Traceability checks are carried out on RSPCA Assured products from supermarket shelf back to farm to check they truly qualify for the RSPCA Assured label

?       All RSPCA Assured members – including farms, processors, packers, hauliers and abattoirs – are subject to annual assessments by scheme assessors and monitoring visits are carried out by RSPCA farm livestock officers on a proportion of the membership annually

?       There are about 2,000 different Freedom Food labelled products – converting to RSPCA Assured labelling over the next 12 months – available across nearly all the UK’s supermarkets

?       Sainsbury’s is the largest retailer of Freedom Food/RSPCA Assured products in the UK

?       In 2013, McDonald’s UK switched to only using Freedom Food/RSPCA Assured pork and started using the logo in its restaurants.