Our Commitment To Animal Welfare
We’re passionate about animal welfare, and its role in creating a more sustainable supply chain. It’s all part of our mission at Gousto to become the UK’s most-loved way to eat dinner.
Our aim will always be to support and encourage the improvement of animal welfare throughout our supply chain. To do this, we work closely with our suppliers and trusted partners to maintain our high standards, and always strive to raise them.
Our animal welfare policy is based on the ‘Five Freedoms’ developed by the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) to upkeep the mental and physical wellbeing of animals.
All livestock that provides our Gousto-branded fresh meat, poultry and eggs must be reared with these five freedoms:
Freedom from hunger and thirst
Freedom from discomfort
Freedom from pain, injury or disease
Freedom to express normal behaviours
Freedom from fear and distress
To further promote animal welfare, Gousto is also committed to these additional standards for our own branded fresh meat, poultry and eggs:
- All suppliers must meet current UK legislation for livestock production and food safety.
- All suppliers must be accredited to and audited against a recognised farm assurance scheme, such as Red Tractor.
- All fresh meat, poultry and eggs must have 100% supply chain traceability from farm to Gousto.
- We will not source ingredients that have inherent animal welfare issues (such as foie gras).
- All fresh eggs must be free range.
- Antibiotic use should be minimised throughout the supply chain, without impacting animal welfare. The use of growth-promoting substances (hormonal or antibiotic) is not permitted.
- All farmed meat and poultry is required to be pre-stunned so that the animal is unconscious and insensible to pain at the point of slaughter.
- Suppliers must ensure a maximum transportation time of 8 hours for all journeys, long-distance live transport is not permitted.
- The use of cloning or genetic engineering of livestock is not permitted.
We also encourage all our suppliers to actively work towards providing species-specific environmental enrichment, and avoid the use of close confinement systems and routine mutilations for all livestock.
And that’s not all. We’re proud to have signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment, requiring our suppliers to meet six key requirements outlined by the European Chicken Commitment by 2026.
Meeting these requirements will lead to improved welfare for chickens as well as a higher quality product in your Gousto box.
Read below for the European Chicken Commitment that Gousto has signed up to.
The European Chicken Commitment Standards
By 2026, we will require our suppliers to meet the following requirements for 100% of the [fresh, frozen, and processed] chicken in our supply chain:
1. Comply with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations, regardless of the country of production.
2. Implement a maximum stocking density of 30kg/m2 or less. Thinning is discouraged and if practiced must be limited to one thin per flock.
3. Adopt breeds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes: either the following breeds, Hubbard JA757, 787, 957, or 987, Rambler Ranger, Ranger Classic, and Ranger Gold, or others that meet the criteria of the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol.
4. Meet improved environmental standards including:
- At least 50 lux of light, including natural light.
- At least two metres of usable perch space, and two pecking substrates, per 1,000 birds.
- On air quality, the maximum requirements of Annex 2.3 of the EU broiler directive, regardless of stocking density.
- No cages or multi-tier systems.
5. Adopt controlled atmospheric stunning using inert gas or multi-phase systems, or effective electrical stunning without live inversion.
6. Demonstrate compliance with the above standards via third-party auditing and annual public reporting on progress towards this commitment.
The Statement of Intent
Electrical waterbath stunning is the main method used globally for the slaughter of poultry. There are, however, significant animal welfare concerns with this method and in 2012 the European Food Safety Authority called for an end to its use (ESFA 2012 report, pg 35). Effective electric alternatives are yet to be developed. However, recognising that under halal standards, Controlled Atmosphere Systems may not be accepted as the animal must not be dead at the time of slaughter (cutting), it is a bare minimum that a stunning method which renders the animal insensible to pain, but still alive, is developed and adopted as soon as possible –
We, Gousto agree to:
- Actively press our suppliers and support the latest research projects (for example, by engaging with the Effective Electrical Stunning roundtable convened by Compassion in World Farming) to find alternatives to electrical waterbath as a matter of urgency;
- Support the call for the use of water bath stunning to be banned by 2026, and new, more humane systems for the effective electric stunning of poultry without conscious inversion to be developed and commercially available by no later than 1st January 2026;
- Commit to investing and adopting such a stunning method (without conscious inversion) as soon as it is commercially available.