All fresh Co-op chicken will now be reared with a reduced maximum stocking density, providing 20% more space, the retailer has announced.
Making the announcement at its AGM over the weekend, Co-op said the move was 'a significant step forward' in its chicken welfare.
The animal welfare change will start to be implemented across the retailer’s supply chain by the second half of 2024.
Chicken will be reared with a reduced maximum stocking density of 30kg/m2, down from the existing industry standard of 38kg/m2.
Alongside more space, Co-op said that chickens would benefit from enrichments such natural light, perches and pecking objects.
The decision follows the launch of the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), which urges retailers to procure all their chicken to a selection of higher welfare criteria by 2026.
Matt Hood, Co-op managing director said: “Looking after the animals in our care is a priority for us.
"I’m pleased this move will make a significant difference to our chicken welfare standards, and whilst I acknowledge delivering animal welfare improvements is an ongoing process, this is a big step in the right direction.”
It comes as Marks and Spencer recently committed to selling only slow-reared fresh chicken, becoming the first retailer to do so.
The roll out of the 'Oakham Gold' line is part of the retailer's aim to become a market-leader in animal welfare standards.