Perdue’s recent announcement that the company is now raising more than half of its chicken with no antibiotics of any kind—human or animal—is good news for the rising number of operators who want to capitalize on the growing demand for No Antibiotics Ever protein. In a recent survey, Technomic found that 56 percent of consumers thought premium poultry (for example, no antibiotics ever, cage free, and organic poultry) should be available at the restaurants they visit, and 63 percent said they were willing to pay more for premium poultry.
While some other chicken companies and some major foodservice operators are promising to remove human antibiotics from chicken production, Perdue goes the extra step by completely eliminating the use of any antibiotics in its No Antibiotics Ever foodservice products.
“We believe consumers are concerned about the use of allantibiotics, not just some,” says Chairman Jim Perdue. “That is why we’re giving foodservice operators a choice that carries transparency and confidence.” Across its Harvestland, Perdue, and Kings Delightbrands, Perdue offers a wide variety of No Antibiotics Ever products in foodservice, plus a growing number of No Antibiotics Ever turkey and pork items.
Perdue recently announced expanded retail distribution of its Perdue Simply Smart No Antibiotics Ever and Perdue Harvestland No Antibiotics Ever chicken, including an advertising and consumer education campaign designed to help consumers understand the difference between “No Antibiotics Ever” and other recent claims that still use some antibiotics.
“The retail campaign, which includes TV advertising, online promotions, and billboards, will increase consumer awareness of Perdue’s ‘No Antibiotics Ever’ products, and we expect this to have an added positive impact on restaurant patrons,” says Doug Wickman, vice president of foodservice marketing and business development. “Plus, with Perdue Foodservice, operators don’t have to wait for ‘No Antibiotics Ever’ products—we have them now.”
“Since Perdue eliminated the routine use of human antibiotics, other poultry companies have responded with a confusing array of promises; consumers aren’t sure what they’re eating,” says Eric Christianson, senior vice president of marketing and innovation. “Our ‘No Antibiotics Ever’ products give operators who want to serve chicken raised without anyantibiotics a clear choice—one that’s available right now, not months or years away.”
While some other companies are promising future reductions in antibiotic use, Perdue has been leading the way, earning praise from numerous consumer and public interest groups, and reinforcing trust in Perdue’s No Antibiotics Ever products.
Chicken companies typically use antibiotics four ways. Human antibiotics are injected into the egg in the hatchery. Human antibiotics can also be put into the feed for faster growth promotion. Or human antibiotics can be mixed with the water or feed to treat or prevent disease. The fourth way is to use animal-only antibiotics.
“We completely eliminated the first two uses in September of 2014, and have improved the way we raise chickens so that 96 percent of our flocks never require treatment with a human antibiotic,” says Bruce Stewart Brown, DVM, Perdue’s senior vice president of food safety, quality and live production. “However, we didn’t stop there. We’re going to continue to reduce our use of animal-only antibiotics, so that we’re raising as many chickens as we can with no antibiotics of any kind—and offering that choice to consumers.”