What’s In Store for U.S. Shoppers: ASPCA Supermarket Scorecard Reveals Top and Bottom Performers on Farm Animal Welfare
Concern for the welfare of farm animals is increasingly guiding people’s food choices, and that is obviously a trend we love to see. But while a lot of attention is given to what happens on the farms themselves—and that’s not wrong—many consumers aren't aware of the enormous influence of supermarkets. As huge power players in the food industry, their policies can help protect pigs, chickens, and other farm animals ... or keep them suffering in inhumane conditions. The ASPCA decided to examine the current state of the largest chains' policies and progress related to farm animal welfare, because the grocery aisle is where shoppers most often decide whether to support better practices—whether they know it or not.
We are proud to announce the release of our first annual Supermarket Scorecard, which evaluates the 20 largest grocery store chains in the U.S. on their policies to address critical animal welfare issues.
The ASPCA Supermarket Scorecard is the only consumer resource that ranks U.S. grocery retailers on multiple farm animal issues. Our interactive tool allows people to see exactly how their store scores on policymaking and progress reporting for chickens raised for meat, egg-laying hens and pigs. The Scorecard is part of the ASPCA’s Shop With Your Heart® program that identifies higher-welfare brands and products, and in future years we will expand the scorecard to include an assessment of the welfare-certified and plant-based products that supermarkets carry.
Over the past 10 years, some major grocery chains have made commitments to stop selling products that come from farms using cruel practices, like cages and crates that immobilize animals for most of their lives. Given that the vast majority of products on store shelves come from factory farms that cruelly confine animals, these kinds of policies can be major drivers of change, and committing to them is an important, basic first step toward ensuring a more humane food system. The problem is, many of the supermarkets that made pledges have failed to show any progress on their promises—and worse still, other stores haven’t even committed to eliminating the worst practices at all.
Top of the Class: Whole Foods and Sprouts the Only Supermarkets to Receive an A Grade
This year, Whole Foods Market® and Sprouts Farmers Market™ were the only two stores to receive A grades.
Costco Wholesale® received a B grade for near-complete cage- and crate-free policies and for reporting good progress towards implementation on those two animal welfare issues, but Costco lacks a meaningful commitment to address the plight of broiler chickens.
Worryingly, a quarter of the supermarkets evaluated (5 out of 20) received an F, having no animal welfare policies on any of these three critical issues: Grocery Outlet®, Piggly Wiggly®, Save A Lot®, Trader Joe’s® and Winn-Dixie®.
The Checkout Aisle: What You Can Do Next
See how your store scored on the 2023 ASPCA Supermarket Scorecard! Please share this with your friends and family, too.
If your store scored well, reach out to thank them for their strong farm animal welfare policies and progress reporting. If your store didn’t score well this year, use our Bring Your Store on Board resources to politely ask them to make progress ahead of next year!
No matter how your store scored, you can always find more humane products by learning about the meaningful farm animal welfare certifications using our Label Guide and shopping with our Shop With Your Heart Grocery List!