The project is the first of several initiatives that the Swedish furniture giant plans to launch to "improve animal welfare, public health and environmental impacts at the farm level."
Though the programme, IKEA will ensure that there are certain space requirements for chickens, no routine use of antibiotics, and healthier breeds with higher products. Some of the standards will have deadlines of 2020, with final compliance expected by 2025.
IKEA's health and sustainability manager, Jacqueline Macalister, said: "Following two years of research and development, I’m delighted we now are sharing the Better Chicken Programme, the first of our sustainable agriculture initiatives for farm animals, which demonstrates our commitment to driving positive change in the food industry said Jacqueline Macalister, IKEA's health and sustainability manager.
IKEA is putting greater emphasis on its sustainability practice. For instance, last year the Swedish firm launched ‘Food is Precious’, a major global IKEA initiative that aims to cut food waste, certainly in food preparations, by 50% by the end of 2020.
In an interview with Business Chief Australia, Dr Kate Ringvall, IKEA Australia’s Country Manager Sustainability said: “It's becoming more of a focus, because of the amount of food that's wasted could, literally, feed the world” “
“We absolutely need to be doing things differently,” she added. “We have to be innovative and think totally differently to what we have in the past, so we can use fewer resources, but meet the needs of the people that we want to connect with.”
IKEA's in-store cafes have grown increasingly in popularity in recent years, so much so it is estimated that 30% of store visits are made just to dine there, according to market research firm The Hartman Group.