A story of change: the restaurants and cafes supporting better welfare for meat chickens

The significant uptake of the RSPCA Standard by Australian meat chicken farmers, and the animal welfare improvements this has seen, is undoubtably one of the most significant achievements of the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme to date. In 2020 alone, more than 579 million meat chickens (or 87% of our country’s approximately 660 million chickens in total) were raised to our higher animal welfare Standard and certified by the Scheme.  

In part one of this series, we explored how Australian retailers, Woolworths and Coles, supported this shift, leading the industry toward higher welfare conditions for millions of Australia’s meat chickens. But the adoption of the RSPCA Standard across the meat chicken industry has also seen a steady rise in other well-known brands sourcing RSPCA Approved chicken. This has included several restaurants, some of which might surprise you! 

Since 2016, Grill’d has proudly sourced 100% RSPCA Approved chicken and was one of the first restaurants to work with the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme. Their commitment to making 
considered choices about what goes on their menu, and what is better for farm animal welfare, set a valuable example. Along with RSPCA Approved chicken, they use 100% free-range eggs (including in their sauces which is a huge deal!) and 100% grass-fed lamb and beef.  

“It’s not just about what we’re eating, but where it has come from. With so much misinformation around ethical sourcing, the trust we have from our customers to source the best quality produce is an important responsibility.” – Grill’d 

Under the mantra of ‘Feel Good Mex’, Zambrero has received many accolades for its humanitarian initiatives. We are excited to work with them to see this commitment extend to prioritising farm animal welfare in their business as well. Since 2016, Zambrero has sourced RSPCA Approved chicken for their menu nationally.  

“At Zambrero we’re all about the feel good. You, us … everyone. Even the way we source the ingredients for our menu has to feel good. That’s why when it comes to sourcing chicken, we only use RSPCA Approved, because meat chicken welfare is important to us. That’s why we’re Feel Good Mex.” – Zambrero 

Zeus Street Greek
The philosophy at Zeus Street Greek is to do food honestly with thoughtfully-sourced ingredients. For this reason, they’ve used chicken from farms participating in the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme for nearly five years.  This demonstrates a commitment to supporting better farm animal welfare, working with local farmers and offering customers chicken that’s been farmed to higher welfare standards. Zeus Street Greek has also used grass-fed lamb since 2017. 

With an aim to deliver a feel-good food experience, Oporto also strives to extend this to their sourcing policies, including by supporting better farm animal welfare. They source 100% RSPCA Approved chicken and have done so since 2019. They are also proud users of cage-free whole eggs for better hen welfare. 

Nando’s might be famous for their flame-grilled chicken, but did you know they are committed to better farm animal welfare within their supply chain? These folks only source chicken from farms with RSPCA Approved certification and cage-free whole eggs for their menu. We think that’s PERI PERI good for chicken welfare!  

Gami Chicken & Beer
Gami Chicken & Beer, the ever-popular Korean fried chicken restaurant, made an ethical decision to 
source their chicken from higher welfare farms early. By using RSPCA Approved chicken at all of their venues, Gami knows they are serving fried chicken their customers can feel better about, knowing it has been farmed with a focus on animal welfare. 

McDonald’s is one of the biggest names in the restaurant industry and earlier this year began sourcing RSPCA Approved chicken. With over 15.7 million kilograms of chicken purchased in 2019, making the decision to prioritise meat chicken welfare in their business, is a big step forward for the welfare of Australian meat chickens. In 2017, McDonald’s switched to sourcing all of their whole eggs from cage-free farming systems, meaning they’re supporters of better welfare for layer hens as well. 

Did you know the chicken found in Starbucks’ handmade wraps, salads and sandwiches is RSPCA Approved? Not only is Starbucks committed to sourcing chicken from higher welfare farms, but they are also Cage Free & Proud. Right now, Starbucks only use cage-free whole eggs but have made an important public commitment to also only source cage free where eggs are used as an ingredient, for example in baked goods and sauces, by 2025. 

The Coffee Club
When it comes to sourcing ingredients The Coffee Club cares about farm animal welfare and know their customers do too. That’s why the café group proudly uses RSPCA Approved chicken on their Australian menu. Along with this, all the fresh eggs cracked and cooked at their cafes, come from cage-free hens.  

“Responsible farming practices is fast becoming a popular choice for consumers, however at The Coffee Club we’ve strived to deliver responsibly farmed ingredients where possible for a long time. Over 7 years ago, we made the choice to go cage free with our fresh Aussie eggs because we feel passionate about hen welfare. We purchase over 11 million eggs per year so that’s a lot of happy hens! We are also proud to work with the RSPCA’s Approved Farming Scheme and source our chicken from RSPCA Approved Australian Farms. Supporting better welfare for Aussie chickens means that they are raised in an enriched environment improving their health and quality of life. At the end of the day we want to make sure our customers feel good about their choices at The Coffee Club.” – The Coffee Club 

Improving the lives of Australia’s farmed animals is an important priority for the RSPCA. Our work encouraging food companies and brands to support a better future for Australia’s farm animals has led to the Scheme currently working with 36 forward-thinking brands sourcing RSPCA Approved ingredients, and altogether more than 1,000 products available with the RSPCA Approved certification. What this means is greater awareness of the source of our food, and higher-welfare food that is more accessible than ever to Australians and that’s something we are very proud of. 

Next week we will be sharing the important role we all play in making sure animals raised for food continue to have better quality of life.  

Explore what the Scheme means for animals and the journey we’ve been on for the past 25 years at our new immersive impact webpage – all of which has only been possible because caring Australians, support a future of higher welfare by choosing RSPCA Approved. 

You might also be interested in A story of change: What Coles and Woolworths are doing to improve the lives of meat chickens


One response to “A story of change: the restaurants and cafes supporting better welfare for meat chickens”

  1. Kyong Kahao says:

    The author has offered some insightful advice, appreciate it.

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