GNP Company®, the Midwest's leading provider of premium natural chicken, announced that it will be adding two new attributes to its All Natural chicken products sold under its flagship Gold'n Plump® brand. The attributes include "No Antibiotics–Ever" and the American Humane Certified™ farm program seal. The first Gold'n Plump products featuring both of these claims will hit store shelves in March, with more added in the summer. The company will gradually extend these attributes to the entire Gold'n Plump line, with the goal of all products to offer them by 2019.
"The demand for products raised humanely and with no antibiotics ever is growing," says Julie Berling, director of strategic communications and insights for GNP Company. "One study shows as many as 42 percent1 of chicken consumers say 'hormone- or antibiotic-free' is an important factor to them. And 92.6 percent2 of consumers find it very important to buy humanely raised meats."
The Natural Resources Defense Council reports chicken raised without routine use of antibiotics is no longer a niche business and that chicken leads the meat product movement towards reduced antibiotics use.
Not All Claims Equal
The company says its flagship Gold'n Plump brand will be one of the first mainstream chicken brands to fully transition its entire product line to be raised without antibiotics of any kind.
"Not all antibiotic claims are created equal," explains Brian Roelofs, vice president of sales, marketing and service for GNP Company. "Many companies are making statements about eliminating the use of antibiotics medically important to humans. GNP Company's move is taking that further—eliminating all antibiotics of any kind for its All Natural Gold'n Plump products now, with the remaining portfolio to follow."
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."
The Gold'n Plump brand's transition is gradual to ensure continuous humane, ethical animal care and product availability. GNP Company continues to believe animal antibiotics, when used judiciously and as needed under veterinarian guidance, are safe for animals as well as humans. Yet, it also recognizes consumers' and customers' growing desire for choices in the meat case that are raised without antibiotics. Roelofs added, "We will continue to reduce our antibiotics use in response to consumer and customer demand. However, we will continue to treat flocks for illness, including the use of antibiotics when necessary, as withholding treatment is not ethical or humane."
Humane Care Promise Becomes Certified
As Gold'n Plump products transition to a No Antibiotics–Ever product line, it will also become officially certified by the American Humane Certified farm program. "GNP Company has always been committed to the humane treatment of our chickens," says Roelofs. "We first partnered with the American Humane Certified farm program in 2010 to certify our Just BARE® products under the program's rigorous standards. 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, GNP Company's animal care, handling and processing practices are independently, third party audited and must meet or exceed the agency's more than 200 rigorous requirements.
A majority of core Gold'n Plump products, such as small and family packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts, chicken thighs and ground chicken, will carry both the No Antibiotics–Ever claim and American Humane Certified seal by summer 2016. All remaining Gold'n Plump value-added retail, deli and foodservice products will transition by the end of 2019.
Extensive media and in-store support will help drive awareness for this Gold'n Plump product line transition in select markets. A mix of advertising will run via print, online, mobile, video and radio channels. Gold'n Plump messaging will be shared among social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Point-of-sale shelf-talker materials will deliver the news in-store.