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Meat, poultry and eggs | Nestlé

Our meat, poultry and eggs are purchased from suppliers worldwide. We buy processed meat in the form of cooked and dehydrated products, oils and powders, as well as unprocessed cooked, frozen and fresh meat for use in a range of our food and pet food products. Meat and poultry are mostly used for ready-made and frozen meals and pet food, while eggs are mostly used for mayonnaise, pasta and pastry. We also buy meat, poultry and egg by-products for our Petcare business. In 2017, we purchased around two million tonnes of meat, poultry and eggs.


20.2% of our total meat, poultry and eggs purchased in 2017 was responsibly sourced

26.8% of our total meat, poultry and eggs purchased in 2017 was traceable to its source

100% of eggs in all our food products globally will be from cage-free hens by 2020


Sourcing meat, poultry and eggs responsibly

We assess practices at farm level using the Nestlé Responsible Sourcing Assessment protocol, developed in conjunction with the non-profit organisation World Animal Protection. Our category-specific requirements (pdf, 1.5 Mb) cover challenges such as breeding, feeding, housing, husbandry, health, transport and slaughtering. Since the beginning of our programme, we have conducted over 1336 farm assessments in 21 countries.

Our assessments identify areas for improvement, such as chemical storage and animal welfare. We are working with farmers to gradually implementing remedial actions at farm level.

Together with our partners, we will continue to further improve farm animal welfare by ensuring compliance with our Responsible Sourcing Guideline requirements to ensure the highest possible standards.

Developing best practice in France

In 2013, Nestlé’s Herta brand in France launched Herta s’engage Filière Préférence, an initiative to encourage best practice in pig farming and strengthen links with farmers and slaughterhouses, with the aim of improving meat quality.

Filière Préférence builds on Herta’s previous work to develop best practice and is focused on three key areas:

  • The environment, optimising the use of resources in farming and improving the impact of farming on water, air and soil;
  • Animal nutrition, favouring local production and optimising animal nutrition; and
  • Animal wellbeing, encouraging initiatives that aim to improve the living conditions of pigs.

When incorporating the Herta s’engage Filière Préférence initiative into their activities, farmers select the best practices most appropriate to their own farm. Points are attributed to each best practice. The number of points attributed is directly linked to their environmental impact and the effect this has on farming. Once a farmer gains the required number of points, Herta commits to buying all the farm’s pork cut products for three years. Partner farms also make a commitment to engage in a process of continual improvement. Each time a farm is visited, a concrete action plan is defined in which the farmer makes a commitment to continue these efforts.

To date, around 200 farms have adopted the scheme, together with nine slaughterhouses, and Filière Préférence accounts for around 30% of all Herta’s ham supply. The initiative has also made Herta the first manufacturer to create a policy involving all players in the sector, a policy recognised by a charter from the French government.

Herta now aims to see 100% of its French meat supplied through Filière Préférence by 2019, an increase in the number of farm audits, and the creation of ‘lighthouse’ farms, which will showcase strong improvements in animal welfare. Herta also aims to create a ‘farmers club’, which will highlight the best-performing farms and initiatives, and inspire other farmers to join the scheme.


Supply chain challenges and solutions

The main challenges identified in our meat, poultry and eggs supply chain relate to poor farm practices across a range of areas, and animal welfare.

Animal welfare

In 2017, we made two major animal welfare pledges:

  • We set a goal to purchase only cage-free eggs for all our food products globally by 2025, and by 2020 in Europe and the USA; and
  • We committed to higher welfare standards for broiler chickens (chickens raised for meat, rather than egg, production) in the USA by 2024, including slower growth rates, better leg health and improved environments in line with Global Animal Partnership standards.

Beyond poultry, we are looking to identify and assess opportunities for welfare improvements for other animals, and will be developing new initiatives and solutions for other aspects of our meat, poultry and egg supply chain. We know these challenges matter to our consumers, who expect affordable, high-quality foods without compromising on animal welfare, and they matter to us.


“Nestlé’s announcement to take their cage-free commitment worldwide has the potential to benefit the lives of millions of laying hens and highlights the company’s journey to improving farm animal welfare.

We will continue to work with Nestlé to ensure the production system changes required in their egg supply will offer the hens a good quality of life in rich and stimulating environments.”

Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at Compassion in Food Business


“We congratulate Nestlé USA on their commitment to significantly improve the lives of millions of broiler chickens in the United States. As the world’s largest food company, Nestlé has the power to make large-scale changes to improve the lives of farm animals.”

Dr Martin Cooke, International Head of Corporate Engagement, World Animal Protection


Good eggs!

Our work to improve animal welfare were recognised externally in 2017, as our Herta France brand received a Good Egg Award at the Compassion in World Farming’s Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards.

Setting standards

We recognise and share stakeholders’ concerns about the welfare of animals raised for food and the need to ensure sustainable animal production systems. Through our Supplier Code and Responsible Sourcing Guideline (RSG), we are helping bring about positive change.

Our mandatory Nestlé Supplier Code (pdf, 1.6 Mb) requires our suppliers of animal-derived ingredients to meet all applicable laws and regulations on animal welfare, and communicate this to their suppliers and farmers. The Nestlé Commitment on Farm Animal Welfare (pdf, 1.4 Mb) sets out further ways to improve the health, care and welfare of the farm animals in our supply chain.

We are committed to eliminating from our global supply chain specific practices that are not consistent with the internationally accepted Five Freedoms:

  • Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition;
  • Freedom from fear and distress;
  • Freedom from physical and thermal discomfort;
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease; and
  • Freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour.

Among the specific practices we have committed to eliminating are:

  • Cattle: dehorning; tail docking, disbudding and castration without anaesthetic and analgesia; and veal crates;
  • Pigs: gestation crates; tail docking; and surgical castration;
  • Poultry and eggs: cage systems, particularly barren cages; and rapid-growth practices with respect to the effects on animal health and welfare; and
  • Animal production systems in general: our first focus is the responsible use of antibiotics in line with the World Organisation for Animal Health’s (OIE) guidance, and the phasing out of growth promoters.

We are currently prioritising practices to be addressed, and assessing how best to address them. We will also support the development and implementation of science-based international standards and guidelines by the OIE.

In 2017, we collaborated with the non-profit organisation Compassion in World Farming to develop an internal training programme for our employees on animal welfare.

  • Use of performance enhancers in farm animals

    We do not support the use of veterinary medicines with performance-enhancing effects in farm animals for the purposes of growth promotion. We believe that any use of such medicines for purely therapeutic purposes should only be carried out under veterinarian advice.

    Regulations and opinions on the use of performance-enhancing medication vary significantly around the world. We will not advocate for the approval of performance enhancers in countries where they are not currently permitted for use.

    We are working with farmers and suppliers to promote good agricultural practices that increase yields and safeguard standards without the use of growth promoters.

    Antimicrobial resistance

    The appropriate use of antimicrobials is essential for protecting human and animal health, and for ensuring correct standards of animal welfare. We share concerns over the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

    As such, we oppose the use of antimicrobials for growth promotion in animals. We also oppose the use of antimicrobials categorised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as ‘critically important’ or ‘highly important’ for human use, and which are not approved for veterinary use. To help address antimicrobial resistance, we endorse international efforts, including the tripartite (FAO-OIE-WHO) approach to promote the responsible use of antimicrobial agents, aimed at minimising the development of antimicrobial resistance.

    Alongside this, we continue to work with our suppliers to support practices and innovations that reduce the need to use antimicrobials in our supply chain, while maintaining correct levels of animal welfare.


Global benchmarking

In recent years, we have contributed to the stakeholder consultation process on the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW), a global measure of animal welfare standards in food companies supported by the non-profit organisations World Animal Protection and Compassion in World Farming. In 2017, Nestlé remained in the ‘Tier 3: Established but work to be done’ ranking.


Developing standards for farm animal welfare management

We participate in an international, multi-stakeholder working group that has developed an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) technical specification (TS) ISO/TS 34700:2016 on Animal Welfare Management. The TS aims to improve the living conditions of animals bred and kept for food production, and provide a management tool for implementing the World Organisation for Animal Health’s (OIE) animal welfare principles. The TS is science based, non-prescriptive and outcome based. It will facilitate the integration of animal welfare principles in business-to-business relations between suppliers and customers, and provide a route to demonstrate conformance through additional assurance by an external party. We are working to implement TS our supply chain and engage with the OIE to develop further species-specific guidance.