Animal welfare

Protecting animal welfare is a top priority for us. We are working hard to ensure all animals in our supply chain live a good life.

Through our partners such as The Red Tractor and RSPCA Assured alongside animal welfare focussed NGO's, we have specialised contacts placed throughout the industry that can help advise and help action continuous improvement.

We have created strong supplier relationships through our lean buying practices and by championing British farming, we are able to provide product with leading-welfare standards, at an affordable price.

To learn more about our dairy supply chain, and how we manage animal welfare alongside our supplying farmers, please click here.

Welfare Windows

We are the first UK retailer to introduce a ‘method of production’ label on our fresh poultry, pork and egg product lines. Our Welfare Label, which is located on the front of pack and gives our customers detailed descriptions of how the animals that we sell have been reared, helping our customers to make more informed decisions when they shop in our stores.

Learn more about our Welfare Windows initiative.

animal welfare

Antibiotics

Our first Antibiotics Stewardship Policy aligns to the targets set by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA). Through these targets to reduce the use of antibiotics in our supply chain, we have started a project with The University of Glasgow School of Medicine, aiming to research the challenges and perceptions surrounding this topic.

Learn more about our stance on antibiotic use and our research project.

Product Certification

All our British fresh meat and poultry is assured by Red Tractor, a national assurance scheme that has standards across various practices including farm animal welfare. This standard goes above and beyond EU minimum requirements, in areas such as the lower stocking densities of our UK meat chicken farms and antibiotic usage. In Pigs, this standard ensures that 100% of our fresh pork supply chain is free from castration, that pigs have permanent access to environmental enrichment and that they are provided with adequate manipulable materials throughout their lives.

The RSPCA Assured logo is a third-party higher welfare certification that also spans across all our fresh meat and poultry categories. We currently have 24 RSPCA Assured products lines, however this number is continually growing.

You can find out more about all Our Partners.

Grass-fed Steak 

Our grass-fed steak is a premium steak line from dedicated farmers, and what makes it premium is that the stock is reared on a healthy diet of at least 70% grass & forage, with at least 180 days grazing per year.

Our farmers are paid a premium to support a farming process which is more sustainable for the planet.

Additional to this, the dedicated farmers who supply our Grass-Fed Range are British and are Red Tractor Farm Quality Assured. This Standard ensures that all animals are treated to the highest levels of animal welfare throughout their lifetime.

 

Understanding ‘The Five Freedoms’

Our Animal Welfare Policy was developed using the principles of the Five Freedoms so that we can ensure every animal in Lidl’s supply chain lives a good life. The Five Freedoms were established by the Farm Animal Welfare Council and are as follows:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst:  by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour. 
  • Freedom from discomfort:  by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area. 
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease:  by prevention through rapid diagnosis and treatment. 
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour:  by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
  • Freedom from fear and distress:  by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

Emma Baxter, Senior Researcher from Scotland’s Rural College, explores each of ‘The Five Freedoms’ and what they mean to the animals within our supply chain.

Eggs

Raw materials - Eggs

We have committed to selling 100% of our eggs from cage-free hens by 2025, and ensuring that all of our free range organic eggs are RSPCA Assured.

In the UK, two main systems are used in the production of eggs: enriched cages and free range. The conditions of these systems vary in terms on space, feeding and activity range. Lidl intends to phase out the eggs from caged hens, however we recognise the significant investment made by British egg suppliers in transitioning to enriched caged systems in 2012. We have therefore set timescales that are challenging yet realistic for the industry to achieve, while still meeting the expectations of our customers and the wider public. In addition to this, we offer a range of organics eggs, all of which are RSPCA assured.

We are committed to reporting progress against our cage-free target on an annual basis. The table below outlines the progress made by all shell eggs sold by Lidl GB.*

YearProportion of shell eggs from cage-free production systemsProportion of shell eggs from enriched cages
2017/18  44%  56%
2018/19  50%  50%
2019/20  60%  40%
2020/21**  55%  45%

*Figures based on number of shell eggs sold

**The Covid-19 pandemic caused unique and significant demand and supply challenges for the egg sector. Both the closure of the hospitality sector, resulting in increased in-home consumption, and periods of panic buying, experienced across the grocery retail sector, drove a significant increase in demand for eggs. Lidl worked hard with its supply base during this period to keep its shelves stocked with high-quality eggs at competitive prices, ensuring it met customer demand throughout this unprecedented period. Whilst these unforeseen circumstances led to an increase in the proportion of enriched caged eggs versus cage-free eggs in 2020/2021 when compared with the previous year, overall our customers purchased significantly more eggs from cage-free hens than in previous years. Despite the sizable challenges of the past year, Lidl is engaging closely with its supply base to meet its original pledge of converting to 100% cage-free eggs by 2025 and remains strongly committed to achieving this goal.