Discount Retail Chain (family owned) Aldi Nord and Süd announce as the first food retailer to only offer meat from fresh air and organic farming from husbandry levels 3 and 4 by 2030.
Aldi Nord and Süd want to forego all cheap meat at level 1 by 2025. The largest discounter in Germany announced this to journalists.
By 2030, the food retailer intends to consistently switch its fresh meat range to the higher animal welfare forms 3 and 4. This means that Aldi is so far the first large grocer - and above all the only discounter to switch completely to fresh meat from outdoor and organic farming, which corresponds to farming methods 3 and 4. The livestock groups beef, pork, chicken and turkey are said to be affected, with the exception of (international) specialties and frozen products. This year, 15 percent of fresh meat sales should come from husbandry forms 3 and 4, up to now it has been around twelve percent. By 2026, the share of sales from this segment should be increased to 33 percent.
Aldi is not yet able to predict whether the end consumer prices will become more expensive as a result, as the market is very complex and subject to many fluctuations. Therefore, no price forecast can currently be given until 2025 and 2030. It is to be expected, however, that it will be “a few cents more” than the cheap meat of level 1.
"We want animal welfare to be affordable for everyone and that every customer can afford good meat that is produced as sustainably as possible," said Lars Klein, Head of Purchasing at Aldi Süd on Friday. Aldi believes that the customer is ready for change and refers to a study by the Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (BÖLW), according to which Germans opted for organic meat much more often in 2020 than in the previous year. Aldi is already the largest organic retailer in Germany.
"We are also taking a considerable economic risk," says Klein, but Aldi is taking the step from "Conviction to do the right thing." Together with politicians, manufacturers and farmers, Aldi wants to initiate a change in the entire value chain towards more animal welfare . The move comes only a few months after the ongoing farmer protests, which are demonstrating for better conditions on the part of politicians, producers and retailers. In some cases, the farmers even blocked the central warehouses of the discounters Lidl and Aldi. However, as it is said in the press conference, Aldi had been preparing this project for a long time, "long before the farmers' protests".
German Animal Welfare Association welcomes Aldi's step
The President of the German Animal Welfare Association, Thomas Schröder, welcomes Aldi's change of attitude: “From our point of view, the currently applicable legal basis for keeping animals in agriculture is not sufficient to ensure animal welfare in the stables. It is therefore only logical to forego meat from conventional husbandry with husbandry level 1. "Aldi's announcement also brings planning security for farmers who are now facing investments in the construction of stables and want to create more animal welfare, according to Schröder. He also sees Aldi as obliged to support higher standards with corresponding contracts and prices. An Aldi spokesman assured in the press conference: "For higher performance and more sustainably produced products, farmers with us naturally also receive more money." Aldi does not carry out this change of attitude on the farmers' backs, according to the spokesman.
The move is a signal, also to other competitors in the food retail sector. As Schröder also comments, it will now be crucial that other retail companies follow Aldi’s step “and that politicians do everything to actively support the transformation of animal husbandry.” Because only around 25 percent of all pork produced in Germany ends up in the retail trade. The rest will be exported. Many farmers are dependent on selling their meat abroad at dumping prices. The conditions of competition are usually even tougher than in retail. Around 90 percent of German farmers currently produce in the conventional way, i.e. without organic standards or access to fresh air for the animals.
Ultimately, however, the responsibility also rests with consumers to choose products with higher animal welfare standards.