Buying higher welfare animal products encourages investment in higher welfare farming, which is smaller scale and poses fewer risks to animals, people and the planet. Freedom Food is the RSPCA’s food labelling scheme that aims to improve the welfare of farm animals reared for food and shows you which foods have met these high standards.
Junior's sister site MadeForMums spoke to Justine Pannett, the senior campaigns manager at the RSPCA, about Freedom Food labelling and the RSPCA picnic food campaign.
"The school holidays are a great opportunity to cook with your children,” says Justine.
“It’s also a good opportunity to talk about the origin of the food as well,” she adds.
Justine says that encouraging your children to understand where their food has come from will help them to be more aware in the future about what they are buying and cooking.
What does Freedom Food mean?
"Anything that’s labelled Freedom Food has been produced to the RSPCAs strict standards," says Justine.
"Across a range of animal species, the RSPCA has set out a range of strict guidelines and standards for how an animal has been reared. This applies from birth to slaughter," she explains.
"We do encourage people to look out for free range food if they can’t find Freedom Foods. The difference is that Freedom Food covers birth to slaughter while other labelling schemes might only apply to how the animal has been reared and not also applied to slaughter," she says.
"Freedom Foods are a one-stop-shop - if you want to guarantee higher welfare of what you’re eating, then freedom Food is the logo to look for."
How do I find Freedom Food products?
"Look for the very distinctive Freedom Food logo," says Justine.
"Freedom foods are available from most retailers. Sainsbury’s do a wide range and co-op do, too. It’s there in the shops, it’s just knowing what to look out for," she adds.
"If freedom food isn’t available, there are other labels to look for. For example, with pork products, look for the term 'outdoor reared', and with chicken, look for 'free range' or 'organic' as an alternative."
Is Freedom Food affordable?
"Freedom Food tends to fall somewhere in the middle in terms of pricing, so it's not expensive," says Justine.
"For instance if you take chicken, a Freedom Food chicken is closer in price to a standard chicken than an organic. It costs a little bit more, but not a huge amount."
What is the RSPCA’s picnic campaign?
"We want to encourage more people to choose higher welfare options for everything they eat, and we’ve focused on picnic food," says Justine.
"Certainly with picnics, a lot of people would tend to chose the most popular ready-made picnic food such as scotch eggs, sausage rolls and cocktail sausages," she adds.
"What we have produced are some recipes to help you apply a higher welfare food choice to making a picnic. There are lots of products labelled Freedom Foods, and other products that you could think about using when cooking at home with your children."
Check out the mouth-watering picnic recipes from Richard Johnson for the RSPCA, and visit the RSPCA's official website for more details.