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The results are in, and Whole Foods Market ranks first in a list of the most “humane” grocers from among the top 25 U.S. supermarket chains by annual sales. The second annual survey of 200 stores in 34 states by the Boston-based World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), the world’s largest alliance of animal welfare organizations, additionally found that from 2008 to 2009, the number of humanely produced food offerings rose 23 percent.
Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods offered twice as many humanely labeled products per store -- 83 -- as the two grocers tied for second place, Shaw’s Supermarkets and Publix Super Markets. Meanwhile, the lowest-ranked food retailer in the survey was Save-A-Lot, with no humanely labeled products found in its stores. Coming between those two extremes were Hy-Vee; Ralphs; Trader Joe’s; Kroger; Giant Food Stores; Stop & Shop; Vons; Safeway; Meijer; Giant Eagle; SuperTarget; Albertsons; HEB; Winn-Dixie; Pathmark; Food Lion; Albertsons, LLC; Walmart Supercenters; BJ’s Wholesale Club; and Sam’s Club.
“The survey results indicate that people are becoming more sensitive to the cruel and unsustainable methods used to raise farm animals and are seeking humane alternatives when they shop, regardless of cost,” noted Dena Jones, U.S. programs director for WSPA. “Consumer demand influences what stores offer, and it is encouraging to see grocers responding by increasing humane food options even in a recession.”
WSPA’s 2009 survey tracked products in four categories: dairy, eggs, unprocessed meat and poultry, and processed meat and poultry (bacon, ham, hot dogs). The organization ranked stores according to a point system based on the quality and variety of the food products available on the shelves.
The full eight-page report can be downloaded at www.wspa-usa.org.
Additionally, in conjunction with the release of the survey, WSPA rolled out the first searchable database for humane foods at the top 25 U.S. grocery stores, at www.EatHumane.org. Consumers who consult the database can look up their local store to find humane food products and see how the location stacks up against others. “This database provides the facts people need to make ethical decisions and find humanely raised products,” said Jones.