Chicken meat: What are you really being sold?

A person (head not visible) standing in front of shelves of chicken meat, holding up and examining a packet of chicken mince.

More and more people are rejecting cage eggs and choosing to only buy free-range meat. The choices we make each time we shop, if we buy meat, can influence the way animals are farmed.

But what most people don’t realise is that various chicken meat brands use misleading labels to imply their animal welfare or health standards are higher than others. But are they really?

We’ve examined the chicken meat labels currently available and in this guide, we explain what they actually mean.

Make sure you know what you are being sold!

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What do chicken meat labels really mean?

We know that animals have the ability to experience a range of feelings and emotions, good and bad. They can feel joy, sadness, boredom and curiosity, and form deep bonds with other animals. The science backs this up. Most people agree that animals should have good lives.

But right now, chickens raised for meat on commercial farms here in New Zealand live painful lives because they’ve been selectively bred to grow abnormally fast.

Chicken consumers tend to rely on the information included on product labels to understand how an animal has been raised. Unfortunately, most labels are deceiving, displaying terms that are unclear, loosely defined, or essentially meaningless.

The weak definition of free-range, the absence of a law determining what wording is used on food labels and what the terms actually mean, creates a confusing situation for conscious consumers. 

To make informed choices you need to understand exactly what these labels mean. We’ve put together an explanation of the terms you will find on chicken meat labels, to help you know what you are being sold.

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