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Chick-fil-A Inc. announced Tuesday that it plans to serve antibiotic-free chicken in all of its restaurants nationwide within the next five years.
According to a news release, this marks the first time a QSR has committed to a 100-percent "raised without antibiotics" standard for poultry.
"Since our family business began 67 years ago, we have focused on our customers. It's why we insist upon using the highest quality ingredients," said Dan Cathy, president and CEO. "We want to continue that heritage, and offering antibiotic-free chicken is the next step."
Chick-fil-A conducted consumer research that indicated an interest in how food is made and where it is sourced, with particular interest in the use of antibiotics. As a result, the company is partnering with its national and regional poultry suppliers to build the necessary supply of chickens raised without antibiotics to match the chain's sales volume.
The company is asking suppliers to work with the USDA to verify that no antibiotics are administered at any point.
"A shift this significant will take some time, as it requires changes along every point of the supply chain — from the hatchery to the processing plant. Our suppliers are committed, and we pledge to have this conversion complete within five years or sooner based on supply chain readiness," said Tim Tassopoulos, executive vice president of operations of Chick-fil-A. "Because this will take some time, we will begin posting quarterly updates on our website in 2015 after our initial phase-in. We want to make it easy for customers to monitor our progress."
Chick-fil-A also recently announced that it would remove yellow dye from its chicken soup, and is testing the removal of high fructose corn syrup from all of its dressings and sauces, artificial ingredients from its bun, and TBHQ from its peanut oil.
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