Gold'n Plump, the flagship brand of Midwest chicken producer GNP Co., has added two new attributes to its All Natural chicken products: No Antibiotics–Ever and the American Humane Certified farm program seal. The first Gold'n Plump products featuring both of these claims are in stores now. There are now 25 items in distribution with plans to gradually extend these attributes to the entire Gold'n Plump line.
"The demand for products raised humanely and without antibiotics ever is growing," said Rory Bidinger, brand manager for Gold'n Plump. A majority of Gold'n Plump All Natural products, including small and family packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts and chicken thighs, in addition to ground chicken, now carry both the No Antibiotics–Ever claim and American Humane Certified seal. The brand's value-added retail and deli products will fully transition by the end of 2019.
Not all antibiotics claims the same
The company says its Gold'n Plump brand will be one of the first mainstream chicken brands to transition its entire product line to be raised without antibiotics of any kind. "Not all antibiotic claims are created equal," explains Bidinger. "Many companies are making statements about eliminating the use of antibiotics medically important to humans. Our All Natural Gold'n Plump products feature No Antibiotics–Ever—which means no antibiotics of any kind have been used."
The USDA only allows products sourced from chickens never-ever given antibiotics their entire lives, including when inside the egg, to be labeled as "No Antibiotics–Ever."
Humane care becomes certified
As Gold'n Plump transitions to a No Antibiotics–Ever product line, the products will also be officially certified by the American Humane Certified farm program. "Since 2013, we've been auditing our contracted family farm partners and grow-out barns—including those responsible for the care of Gold'n Plump flocks. The official certification of Gold'n Plump formalizes our already steadfast belief in humane care."
For products to display the American Humane Certified seal, all animal care, handling and processing practices must pass independent, third-party audits each year by meeting or exceeding the farm program's more than 200 rigorous requirements.
Confusion over claims growing
Bidinger also notes that as demand for these attributes grows, so has confusion about what these claims actually mean—according to the findings of the Gold'n Plump Chicken Label Insights Study1 of 1,000 primary grocery shoppers of chicken across the U.S.
Specifically, the study found the majority of chicken shoppers are confused by package claims. Most food labels confuse 62 percent of shoppers; chicken label claims confuse 27 percent of shoppers. The study also found:
- Many shoppers don't trust labeling claims.Though 38 percent look for certain labeling claims on chicken, 26 percent don't trust them.
- More than half (55 percent) of shoppers are regularly or sometimes overwhelmed when evaluating food product labels while grocery shopping.Men somewhat less so (44 percent) than women (60 percent).
- More time reading the label doesn't dispel confusion.Most shoppers (60 percent) spend more time reading the labels of new products, yet 38 percent of those spending more time are still confused.
- Some claims are more problematic.Nearly 1 in 3 (30 percent) is confused by all the different antibiotics claims about chicken. Just 1 in 4 (27 percent) is confused by all the different humanely raised claims about chicken.
- Antibiotic use and humanely raised claims may aid in purchase. Many shoppers (36 percent) say No Antibiotics–Ever is important to them when buying chicken. Humanely raised means higher quality for nearly 32 percent of shoppers and just over 33 percent of shoppers agree that humanely raised on the label encourages their purchase.
- Humane certification claims are important. Regardless of the humanely raised claim being made, many agree (42 percent) that the claims must be certified to trust them.
Based on these findings, Gold'n Plump created tools to simplify and define chicken label claims. The first is the Gold'n Plump Chicken Checklist, a printable tool to help shoppers with easy-to-understand definitions, allowing them to better understand their options and make more informed decisions when shopping the meat department. The second tool is an online tutorial of a chicken package featuring explanations of the main label claims on the All Natural line of Gold'n Plump products. Both the checklist and tutorial are now accessible via online and mobile phone by visiting GoodChickenMission.com.
Source: GNP Co.