The inaugural ASPCA Supermarket Scorecard (2023) evaluates the 20 largest grocery store chains in the U.S. on their policies to address critical welfare issues for:
- Chickens raised for meat (also known as broiler chickens)
- Egg-laying hens
- Pregnant pigs
Building on our Shop With Your Heart® program, which highlights welfare-certified brands and products, the ASPCA Supermarket Scorecard empowers Americans with the knowledge they need to shop in harmony with their values.
Use the tabs below to see your supermarket's final grade, as well as how they scored on addressing critical animal welfare issues for broiler chickens, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs. Hover or tap the chart to see the breakdown of individual scores.
Each animal score is a combination of the supermarket’s commitment to farm animal welfare as determined by: 1) the strength of its published policies, and 2) its self-reported progress toward the implementation of those policies. More information can be found in the Methodology section.
Our first scorecard focuses on three policies that address some of the most concerning practices employed on factory farms. Factory farms are large-scale, industrial operations where tens of thousands of animals are crowded together in giant warehouses. Supermarkets must work actively to eliminate extreme sources of animal suffering, like cage confinement and using breeds predisposed to injury and illness, from their supply chains.
While banning the worst factory farming practices is an important first step, many farms go beyond this baseline to provide animals with holistically better environments. See our Note to Supermarket Executives to learn how subsequent versions of this scorecard will assess verified higher-welfare offerings.
Conventional chickens are bred to grow so rapidly and disproportionately that even at a young age they have trouble walking and are at risk for heart failure. The Better Chicken Commitment requires that chicken farms use healthier, more robust breeds, improved housing conditions (including more space, better light, cleaner litter and enrichment) and more humane slaughter practices.
Most egg-laying hens in the U.S. are raised in stacked battery cages, each of which provides less floor space per bird than a sheet of printer paper. Cage-free policies pledge to eliminate battery cages so birds have room to move throughout the barn and perform basic natural behaviors.
Most breeding pigs spend their pregnancies confined to a gestation crate, which is so small that they cannot turn around or move more than one step forward or backward. Gestation crate policies pledge to eliminate these enclosures so that pregnant pigs have room to move, stretch their limbs and interact with others.
It is encouraging that many major grocery store chains have posted public commitments to eliminate at least some forms of intensive confinement of animals raised on farms. Still, despite growing public rejection of such confinement and other intensive practices, almost all of the egg, chicken and pork products on American supermarket shelves come from factory farms that restrict animals’ movement. Many retail chains have stalled in fulfilling their promises, while others have not even acknowledged the widespread problem of farm animal cruelty in the food system. This is affecting billions of animals, farmers who have invested in higher-welfare practices and consumers who are hungry for more humane options.
Despite the need for accelerated progress, there is good news for both farm animals and welfare-conscious consumers, as well as real opportunities for many supermarkets to improve.
Whole Foods Market® earned an A+ grade for complete policies on all three animal welfare issues and 100% cage-free and 100% gestation crate-free implementation. Whole Foods is currently reporting progress toward its Better Chicken Commitment goal.
Sprouts Farmers Market™ received an A grade, with two complete policies for egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs and a partial policy for broiler chickens. Sprouts has reached 100% compliance for cage-free and is reporting progress on its other policies.
Both these supermarkets had established policies and progress prior to working with the ASPCA and improved their scores further for this scorecard by making important additions to policy commitments and/or increased effort and transparency on their progress.
Following Whole Foods and Sprouts, one supermarket—Costco®—received a B grade. Costco has near-complete policies on egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs and is reporting good progress toward implementation, but has not meaningfully addressed the plight of broiler chickens.
The five supermarkets that have not adopted public policies to address these farm animal welfare issues are Grocery Outlet®, Piggly Wiggly®, Save A Lot®, Trader Joe’s® and Winn-Dixie®. As such, these grocery stores received an F grade on corporate animal welfare policies.
Only eight supermarkets were awarded points for having a policy on broiler chickens, and only one of those, Whole Foods, has a complete policy. Sprouts has the next-strongest Better Chicken Commitment policies, followed by Albertsons®, Safeway® and Kroger®.
While supermarket policies range in progress, 15 of the 20 grocery retailers (75%) have at least acknowledged the issue of housing hens in battery cages. Twelve supermarkets have earned points for complete cage-free policies: Albertsons, Food Lion®, Key Food®, Publix®, Safeway, Sam’s Club®, Sprouts, Stop & Shop®, Target®, Walmart®, Walmart Neighborhood Market and Whole Foods. Two supermarkets, Sprouts and Whole Foods, report that they have fully transitioned to cage-free eggs in all of their stores, and the other eight are reporting meaningful progress; but two supermarkets, Food Lion and Stop & Shop, are not reporting any progress yet.
Gestation crates continue to receive a lot of attention given their inclusion in a growing list of state laws prohibiting this kind of confinement on farms. Yet only 13 supermarket chains earned points for at least acknowledging the issue, with just four receiving complete points: Food Lion, Sprouts, Stop & Shop, and Whole Foods. More concerning, only four supermarkets have demonstrated transparency and progress reporting against their policies: Costco, Sprouts, Target and Whole Foods have offered this transparency.
Supermarkets have immense power and influence.
USDA data shows that Americans purchase two-thirds of their calories from large grocery store chains, making supermarkets the arbiter of how Americans eat.
According to Business Insider data, the top four supermarket chains control 44% of the market. With the proposed merger between Kroger and Albertsons, this consolidation will increase.
According to ASPCA survey data, two-thirds of consumers have no idea how much of the meat, eggs and dairy they buy comes from factory farms, where large numbers of farm animals are kept in intensive confinement.
A 2023 survey shows that shoppers are becoming increasingly concerned with farm animal welfare issues and are looking to supermarkets to use their power and influence for good.
91% of shoppers agree that food brands should address both the environment and animal welfare in their sustainability strategies.
69% of consumers want more information about supermarkets' progress toward stocking more humanely produced products.
64% of shoppers would switch supermarkets if they learned that theirs did not offer more humane alternatives to factory-farmed food.
One of the ways to get animal welfare on the corporate agenda is for supermarkets to make a public commitment to phase out inhumane practices. Policies are more powerful in spurring positive change when they are publicly available, specific and time-bound. Publicly reporting progress toward achieving these goals demonstrates effort and accountability to both shoppers and the farms in their supply chain.
The 2023 ASPCA Supermarket Scorecard involved the development of an innovative scoring methodology to assess the robustness of animal welfare policy commitments and the degree and strength of public progress reporting against these commitments.
For the 2023 scorecard, companies were assessed on: 1) having a public commitment for three animal welfare issues, and 2) on their public progress reporting against those policy commitments. The three policies apply to animal products that are either a single ingredient or first ingredient (e.g., chicken breast or bacon) and not mixed ingredient items (e.g., pizza). Policies are defined as follows:
Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) for Broiler Chickens (chickens raised for meat): a four-part public policy that includes: 1) All BCC components are addressed (breed, housing, slaughter) for 100% of store’s own brand (private label); 2) Expected implementation deadline by 2026 or reasonable date (by 2030 is acceptable for new policies); 3) Annual progress reporting by way of policy language or actual reporting within two years; and 4) Third-party auditing.
Cage-Free for Egg-Laying Hens: a three-part public policy that includes: 1) 100% cage-free housing for layer hens applicable for all shell eggs sold; 2) Expected implementation deadline by 2025 or a reasonable date (by 2030 is acceptable if progress reported); and 3) Annual progress reporting by way of policy language or actual reporting within two years.
Crate-Free for Pregnant Pigs: a three-part public policy that includes: 1) 100% gestation crate-free housing for breeding pigs for all pork products sold. 100% “group-housing” is alternative policy language that is acceptable if housing breeding pigs in crates for, at maximum, the first 4-6 weeks with a statement that effort will be made to minimize time spent in crates. (Group housing does not intend to challenge stronger state laws that ban gestation crates outright, but rather to encourage nationwide progress for pigs.); 2) Expected implementation deadline by 2025 or a reasonable date (by 2030 is acceptable if progress reported); and 3) Annual progress reporting by way of policy language or actual reporting within two years.
Progress reporting is the percentage of a complete policy implemented. The update must be from within two years (2020 data accepted given retailers compiling end-of-year data and timing of this scorecard) and be publicly accessible, for example, on their website or in a press release.
Policies or progress reporting that were removed, outdated, vanishing (like an Instagram Story), or published only on a non-company-related website were not deemed eligible since it is unlikely to be known or considered relevant to the company. Supermarket chains that linked to parent companies’ websites for applicable policy and progress reporting were accepted. A deadline of July 1, 2023, as used for the 2023 Supermarket Scorecard, and all data included in the Scorecard represents policies and progress reported up to that date.
Scoring Methodology for Policies:
- Complete, all components met (3 for eggs and pigs; 4 for broilers)100
- 2 of 3 components met for eggs, pigs. 3 of 4 for broilers75
- 1 of 3 components met for eggs, pigs. 2 of 4 for broilers50
- Mentions issue for eggs, pigs. 1 of 4 or mentions issue for broilers25
- No acknowledgement of issue0
The total policy score possible for supermarkets is 300 (= 100 points x 3 policies).
Scoring for Progress Reporting: The percentage of published progress that relates to a complete policy.
If a company reports 50% cage-free shell eggs for its private label (not whole store assortment as per the definition of a complete policy), the ASPCA will seek out what percentage makes up the private label and calculate accordingly. If 90% of eggs are private label, then the points awarded would be 45 [=(0.5*0.9)*100]. If the percentage is not available nor can be reasonably inferred, then a score of 0 will be attributed since the lack of transparency forces a random guess. For broiler policies, it is possible that components are achieved in a step-wise manner. In this scenario, each major component—breed, housing, slaughter—is weighted at 1/3. Housing can be further divided into four buckets (light, litter, enrichment, and space), each weighted at 1/4. The ASPCA strives to award all possible points where deserved.
Total Score Calculation: Each company’s policy score and progress reporting score will be summed to calculate an overall total possible score out of 600 (= total policy score + total progress reporting score). These total scores determined each company’s final grade.
- Final GradePoints EarnedDescription
- A+≥ 5003 policies + progress on at least 2, given BCC is a more recent policy and full implementation has not yet been achieved by any supermarket
- A≥ 4003 policies + progress completed on 1 or far along on 2-3; OR 2 policies + progress completed on both
- B≥ 3003 policies without progress OR 2 policies + good progress on both
- C≥ 2002 policies without progress OR 1 policy + progress completed
- D≥ 1001 policy with or without some progress OR partial policies on more than one issue
- F< 100No complete policies
Full Chart of Scores:
|Supermarket||BCC Policy Score||BCC Progress Score||Broiler Chickens Score||Cage-Free Policy Score||Cage-Free Progress Score||Laying Hens Score||Crate-Free Policy Sscore||Crate-Free Progress Score||Pregnant Pigs Score||TOTAL SCORE||FINAL GRADE|
|Whole Foods||100||60.6||160.6||100||100||200||100||100||200||560.6||A+ (≥ 500 points)|
|Sprouts||75||19.5||94.5||100||100||200||100||61||161||455.5||A (400 to 500 point range)|
|Costco||25||0||25||75||97||172||75||92||167||364||B (300 to 400 point range)|
|Target||0||0||0||100||57||157||75||51||126||283||C (200 to 300 point range)|
|Albertsons||50||28.3||78.3||100||27||127||25||0||25||230.3||C (200 to 300 point range)|
|Safeway||50||28.3||78.3||100||27||127||25||0||25||230.3||C (200 to 300 point range)|
|Food Lion||25||0||25||100||0||100||100||0||100||225||C (200 to 300 point range)|
|Stop & Shop||25||0||25||100||0||100||100||0||100||225||C (200 to 300 point range)|
|Kroger||50||21.7||71.7||50||27||77||75||0||75||223.7||C (200 to 300 point range)|
|Sam's Club||0||0||0||100||41||141||25||0||25||166||D (100 to 200 point range)|
|Publix||0||0||0||100||57||157||0||0||0||157||D (100 to 200 point range)|
|Walmart||0||0||0||100||21||121||25||0||25||146||D (100 to 200 point range)|
|0||0||0||100||21||121||25||0||25||146||D (100 to 200 point range)|
|Key Food||0||0||0||100||30||130||0||0||0||130||D (100 to 200 point range)|
|ALDI||0||0||0||75||0||75||25||0||25||100||D (100 to 200 point range)|
|Grocery Outlet||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||F (<100 points)|
|Piggly Wiggly||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||F (<100 points)|
|Save A Lot||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||F (<100 points)|
|Trader Joe's||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||F (<100 points)|
|Winn-Dixie||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||F (<100 points)|
In future scorecards, the ASPCA will reevaluate how top supermarkets improve these three policies and likely expand to include:
- More grocery chains
- Additional critical welfare issues impacting other animals raised for food
- Stores’ assortments of higher-welfare products, including plant-based alternatives
Animal welfare policies and progress represent a baseline effort to acknowledge and address some of the most concerning practices employed on factory farms today, but many farmers are going well beyond that to provide animals with holistically better environments, from enriched indoor environments to free-range systems and pasture-based farming, and are adhering to robust independent welfare certifications. That is why future scorecards will evaluate stores’ offerings of welfare-certified products, starting with supermarkets' store brands (also known as private labels), over which they exhibit even greater control, as well as store brands’ plant-based products. Store brands are increasingly important to largescale supermarkets, with these products accounting for 20% of all retail food sales and growing four times as fast as national brands.
As our 2023 survey data shows, in addition to being a moral imperative, addressing farm animals’ suffering represents a business opportunity for supermarkets. Consumers are looking for higher-welfare products and want more information about supermarkets' plans to eliminate practices in their supply chains that they find unacceptable. A lack of transparency and commitment around animals’ welfare is fast becoming a liability: the majority of shoppers said they would switch supermarkets if they learned that theirs did not offer more humane alternatives to factory-farmed food products, and a staggering 91% of Americans expect sustainability efforts to include animal welfare.
Ultimately, this annual resource will evolve to assess supermarkets’ dedication to farm animal welfare, and to meet consumers’ growing demand for products that align with their deep concern for animals. We are committed to working with the supermarket sector to help companies seize on this powerful opportunity—and unique responsibility—to build a more compassionate food system.