“Over the last 10 years, animal welfare has remained a priority among consumers and spending on ethical goods and services has increased three-fold,” said Good Business Awards manager Jane Aslett.
“By entering the RSPCA Good Business Awards, they have the perfect opportunity to receive public and industry recognition for their commitment to animal welfare.”
The RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) said it will only accept applications from retailers, restaurants, pubs and caterers that do not serve foie gras or white veal, and only serve meat from animals that have been pre-stunned before slaughter.
Businesses in the hospitality sector may enter the following award categories:
- Caterers – event and contract
- Independent retailer
- Restaurant chain
- Pub chain
- Independent restaurant
- Independent pub
- People’s Choice supermarket
- Supermarket innovation award
The awards will be judged by Richard Johnson, presenter of BBC’s Full On food, Andrew Opie, food policy director at the British Retail Consortium, Dr Geoff Spriegel, an independent food consultant and Prof John Webster, Professor Emeritus at Bristol University.
RSPCA said it will promote the winners on its Good Business Awards website, and achievements will be detailed in a consumer guide to choosing higher welfare companies.
According to RSPCA, around two thirds of all eggs used in restaurants, pubs and cafes - whether whole or in liquid form in quiches and cakes - continue to be sourced from hens kept in battery cages.
This is at a time when half of all eggs produced in the UK are now produced in a cage-free environment. The latest figures from Defra (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) find that 45 per cent of eggs produced in the UK last year were free-range, while five per cent were produced in barn systems.
This increased from 41 per cent free-range and four per cent barn in 2009, which shows that more and more consumers are buying higher welfare products, said RSPCA.
However, 17 million hens are still kept in cages with less useable space each than the size of a piece of A4 paper, said the animal welfare group. “They are unable to move around freely, move away from each other easily or to express natural behaviours properly, such as foraging and dust bathing.”
“The RSPCA believes that all hens should be kept in properly managed free-range or barn systems,” said RSPCA senior farm animal scientist Alice Clark.
“We are encouraging everyone in the food retail sector to use welfare-friendly eggs, introduce or improve animal welfare policies and to enter the food category of the RSPCA Good Business Awards.”