I keep hoping for Spring, but if I can’t get spring, I’ll settle for a spring chicken. Actually, I can enjoy (not just settle) for chicken during any season. Most of the time when I have chicken, I am settling for what is likely industrially produced product with plenty of chemicals tossed in. So I was very happy to see a couple of articles recently highlighting increasing demand for organic chicken, or at least less chemicals.
Elevation Burger, a relatively small burger company with 33 locations near Washington D.C. is poised to become the largest fast food seller of organic chicken in the country. There has, according to USA Today, been a competition in the fast food industry to provide healthier, or “better for you” chicken. Elevation Burger has decided to only sell organic chicken. While 33 stores is not a huge amount, it still represents some economies of scale. Once this is complete, the company will be largest selling of fast food organic chicken and beef.
Maybe as a coincidence, another company (GNP, purveyors of Just Bare Chicken is significantly expanding distribution of their organic and “natural” chickens. Slated for April 2015, they had already tested the demand at select SuperTargets. Demand must have been sufficient, because the brand will be available in my area near Philadelphia (at least the “natural” chicken– no antibiotics, no hormones, and no animal by products in the feed. etc. In a very unusual twist, Just Bare even has a code allowing the consumer to know which farm their chicken came from.
It is hard to think of a greater scale than McDonald’s. Even they are (slowly) instituting some changes into how they purchase chicken. They had told their suppliers to not quite eliminate, but significantly reduce the amount of antibiotics in their chicken. This is not as far as the Elevate Burger and JustBare, but it does force the largest players in the industry to make some changes and make their chicken at least somewhat more “natural”.
The chicken industry has a long way to go to really make their product environmentally friendly, comprised of less artificial ingredients and more “natural”. But it is only spring, and hope always springs eternal during Spring Training.