Look beyond the label. A guide to buying chicken. Posted on 21 Aug 07:00
At Emmer & Co., we are always glad to see people moving towards making better food choices for their health, for the planet, and for taste! But so many products claim to be both good for you and good for the animal, and the existing labels have unclear meanings, so it can be difficult to know how to choose the best chicken. Here’s how to choose the right birds:
Find a producer who will show you their practices.
The only way to truly look beyond the label and select the best chicken is to see how the birds are raised for yourself. Talk to your producers and ask them for photos and videos of their operation, or visit the farms! Emmer & Co. created a virtual reality experience that allows us to be 100% transparent in showing you what our practices look like.
Look for slow-growth chicken.
Industrial Cornish Cross chickens have been bred for unnaturally fast growth that leads to chronic pain. Slow-growth chickens take at least 2X as long to grow as industrial birds, which ensures that they never suffer from health issues relating to fast growth, and have healthy immune systems that never need antibiotics. They’re suited for living healthy, active lives on pasture.
Look for 100% pasture raised chicken.
Raising chickens entirely on pasture results in the best animal welfare, and the healthiest, tastiest meat. Ask producers if they use any barns or permanent structures to raise their birds; only birds that are raised solely outdoors are able to freely run, forage, and live the natural lives chickens are meant to. High activity levels and a foraged diet leads to dense meat with delicious flavors.
Ask your producer about regenerative agriculture practices.
The best chicken should be grown in a way that improves the earth. Industrial farming operations are detrimental to soil health and wild plant life. By choosing to buy chicken that was raised with holistic management principles, you’re helping to improve the environment.