Perdue Farms, Inc. will expand their No Antibiotics Ever commitment into every category–now to include pre-cooked and seasoned chicken nuggets and strips. And get this, folks – products are scheduled to hit shelves this month, with the conversion continuing through May. Many of these removal pledges come with two- or three-year waiting periods, not so with Perdue.
Perdue (the US’s third largest chicken processor) was an early participant in the antibiotic-free movement, with a pledge that dates back to 2007. The company now estimates that it has eliminated antibiotic use in two-thirds of the chickens it processes, up from 50% just six months ago. How are they doing it? In addition to more effective cleaning, taking animal byproducts out of the feed, and more vaccinations, Perdue is also adding more prebiotics and probiotics to the feed. (Humans aren’t the only ones putting more focus on gut health, it turns out.)
The domino effect started last year when Kraft Foods Group Inc.’s promised to take the artificial colors out of everyone’s beloved blue box of Mac and Cheese. Then Nestle followed suit with a pledge to remove artificial colors and flavors from all candy products. Not wanting to be left behind, Hershey then jumped on board with a move towards simpler ingredients, and General Mills dove head first into testing to find replacements for the artificial colors in their cereal, like Trix. And just this month, Mars, Inc. (think M&M’s, Twix, Milky Way, Uncle Ben’s and Starburst) joined the lineup of other food brands in pledging its commitment to phase out all artificial colors over the next five years.
Another consumer win! Keep talking, folks. Big food is listening.