National comparison of Dutch supermarkets on animal welfare starts today

Aug 17, 2021

Questionmark Foundation today starts with a national comparison study into animal welfare in Dutch supermarkets. The survey "Superlist Animal Welfare" investigates to what extent supermarkets are taking their responsibility to reduce the suffering of animals in the food system.

The results of the survey lead to a public ranking of supermarkets. For this study Questionmark collaborates with World Animal Protection. Research starts today and the results will be published in December 2021. Supermarkets that are included in Superlist Animal Welfare are: Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Lidl, Aldi, Plus, Dirk, Coop and Ekoplaza.

Influence of supermarkets

In order to make our food system more animal-friendly, we will have to impose different demands on farmers and processors of meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Supermarket chains have a dominant position throughout the whole food chain. In the Netherlands, there are only five large purchasing organizations behind all the supermarkets,. With their policies, assortment and weekly offers, supermarkets have a major influence on the choices their customers make.

Charlotte Linnebank, director of Questionmark: “Supermarkets can use their purchase demands to  help farmers and slaughterers move forward by only selling meat, dairy and eggs with strict requirements for animal welfare. In addition, supermarkets can choose not to encourage customers in the habit of eating cheap meat, by only offering meat with a quality mark for animal welfare and stop stunting with cheap meat sales. That is not patronizing. We know from research that the majority of consumers want animals to be treated well. With Superlist we help supermarkets to seize these opportunities.”

Cooperation World Animal Protection

For Superlist Animal Welfare, Questionmark works together with World Animal Protection. For over 50 years, World Animal Protection has been working worldwide to improve welfare for livestock and wildlife. To achieve this, they run public campaigns, provide information, offer direct (emergency) help, and lobby for better laws and regulations. Dirk-Jan Verdonk, Managing Director: “At the moment, animal proteins make up about 60% of the proteins in the average Dutch diet. The high demand for meat, fish, dairy and eggs puts great pressure on animal welfare and the planet. Supermarkets can take various measures to relieve this pressure. We are therefore looking forward to see the efforts of the various supermarkets to, for example, make the vegetable choice more attractive and to opt for products with a quality mark for animal welfare.”

Research method

The research method of Superlist was created in consultation with various partners with expertise in the area of animal welfare and in cooperation with a scientific council of scientists with knowledge of health, sustainability, consumer behavior and supermarkets. The research method for Superlist Animal Welfare can be seen here (in Dutch).

The Scientific Advisory Board for Superlist consists of:

  • Jaap Seidell (Free University Amsterdam)
  • Hans Dagevos (Wageningen University)
  • Ellen van Kleef (Wageningen University)
  • Annet Roodenburg (HAS hogeschool)

Third Superlist

Superlist Animal Welfare is the third study in the two-year research project. In October 2020, Superlist Health was published, followed by Superlist Green in May 2021. Next year the fourth and final Super list will be published with the theme human rights.

More information

Press contact: Annelore van der Lint | annelore@thequestionmark.org | +31 (0)6 290 73 879