Animal Welfare

Kraft Heinz believes that animals deserve a good quality of life and to be treated humanely. We have an unwavering commitment to the care of animals in our supply chain. Although we neither own nor manage farms, we align with our suppliers in requiring their animals be treated with care, understanding and respect.

Source 100% of eggs globally from cage-free or better* hens by 2025.


Source 100% of eggs in Europe from free-range hens by 2020.


Improve broiler chicken welfare in the U.S. by 2024 and European chicken commitment by 2026.


Continue to work with animal welfare experts and suppliers on best practices to eliminate painful procedures and promote sustainable practices.


Kraft Heinz believes that animals deserve a good quality of life and to be treated humanely. We have an unwavering commitment to the care of animals in our supply chain. Although we neither own nor manage farms, we align with our suppliers in requiring their animals be treated with care, understanding and respect.

Kraft Heinz believes that good animal welfare includes three elements which guide our animal welfare policies and initiatives:

  • Health and Productivity: healthy animals that are provided with quality shelter, feed, and water
  • Emotional Well-Being: negative experiences minimized and positive experiences enhanced
  • Naturalness: animals perform important species-specific behaviors

This concept of animal welfare builds upon the internationally recognized “Five Freedoms” of animal welfare which include the fundamental principles of 1) freedom from hunger and thirst, 2) freedom from physical and thermal discomfort, 3) freedom from pain, injury or disease, 4) freedom to express normal behaviors, and 5) freedom from fear and distress.

We support housing designs that allow animals to perform species- specific behaviors. Examples include, but are not limited to, cage- free housing with perches and nest boxes for laying hens and group housing for gestating sows. When painful procedures need to be performed, we encourage pain mitigation, such as the use of anesthetics or analgesics. Kraft Heinz expects its suppliers to implement practices and pursue continuous improvement consistent with the Five Freedoms and good animal welfare. Public interest in farming and animal care is increasing and consumers desire farming practices that match their values and expectations. Good animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and healthy people form an interconnected system; and well managed farms reduce waste and provide a safe, nutritious food supply. Knowing this, we integrate science and societal ethics in our animal welfare decisions. In 2021, we released our updated Global Animal Welfare Policy and our inaugural Supplier Implementation Guide which are available on our Supplier Hub.

Animal Welfare Outreach and Education

In 2021, we worked with Dr. Kurt Vogel at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls to establish an undergraduate research internship program. The students in this program worked with academic and industry experts to develop supplier questionnaires on dairy calf management, broiler transport, and their swine welfare programs. Our animal welfare specialist partners with suppliers on animal welfare improvement projects, such as developing a customized turkey load-out and transport audit. They serve on the animal welfare committees of the North American Meat Institute and the National Turkey Federation. Within Kraft Heinz, our specialist provides training on farm animal production and welfare to cross-functional team members and leads our ESG Steering Group Subcommittee on Animal Welfare.

Our Supply Partners

Our suppliers are our partners in humane animal care and its continuous improvement. We expect suppliers to maintain strict standards of animal care and raise animals in accordance with the laws and ordinances in their locale. We require our suppliers to have a zero-tolerance policy for animal abuse and neglect, and to train all individuals working with or around live animals accordingly. In addition to the Global Animal Welfare Policy, animal welfare expectations are delineated in the Kraft Heinz Ingredient Supplier Quality Expectations Manual and product specifications. When evidence of non-compliance exists, Kraft Heinz may suspend the supplier until corrective actions have been implemented. Suppliers who do not align with the requirements or do not make continuous and positive improvements to meet them risk losing Kraft Heinz as a customer.

* Kraft Heinz defines “cage-free or better” eggs as sourced from laying hens that come from cage-free, free-range, pasture-raised, or similar natural or open housing settings.

Animal Health & Management

Laying Hens

The ability to engage in normal behaviors such as walking, nesting, and dust-bathing is important to laying hen welfare. Therefore, by 2025 we are globally committed to purchasing only cage-free eggs or better. Kraft Heinz defines “cage-free or better” eggs as sourced from laying hens that come from cage-free, free-range, pasture-raised, or similar natural or open housing settings. Hens in both cage-free and free-range housing are provided with litter, perches and nest boxes. In 2021, 64 percent of the eggs and egg products* we purchased globally were cage-free or better. Whereas in previous years our reporting was limited to internal manufacturing only, for the first time for 2021, we are reporting on progress at both internal and external manufacturing plants that make egg-containing products for us. In Europe, we achieved our goal to exclusively purchase free-range eggs at internal plants by the end of 2020. In the U.S., 100 percent of our cage-free egg supply was certified by American Humane Certified or Certified Humane.


In accordance with our three elements of animal welfare, we believe that pregnant sows should be safely housed in social groups with enough space to perform normal behaviors. The industry faces challenges to meet the demand, especially for pork that complies with strict regional legislation. Kraft Heinz is working with our pork suppliers to transition pregnant sows from gestation stall housing to group, pen housing. In 2021, 25 percent of our global and 98 percent of our European pork supply came from sows housed in pen gestation systems.

Broiler Chickens

We have committed to improving broiler welfare by 2024. We continue to incorporate leading science into our assessment of broiler welfare, while we engage with the industry at-large as it redefines its guidelines for enhanced broiler welfare. We will incorporate a combination of outcome-based and practice-based metrics that are shown to demonstrably increase animal welfare. Targets include stocking density, litter quality, enrichment provision, and controlled atmosphere stunning and will incorporate supplier verification, such as auditing. We continue to engage with our United States supply partners in meeting enhanced broiler chicken welfare standards.

European Chicken Commitment: In late 2019, Kraft Heinz expanded its animal welfare commitments to improving chicken welfare by 2026 as part of the European Chicken Commitment. Kraft Heinz continues to assess and work to transition its European supply chain accordingly. Though this commitment faces some challenges related to supply, we remain steadfast in our commitment to require 100 percent of the fresh, frozen and processed chicken in our European supply chain to meet this standard. We look forward to continued engagement with our suppliers toward this objective.

Dairy Cattle

We require our U.S. suppliers to follow the National Milk Producers Federation’s Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Animal Care guidelines. This program establishes best on-farm animal management practices and includes second-party evaluations and third-party verification. 66 percent of our dairy supply comes from U.S. farms. Our Canadian suppliers follow the National Farm Animal Care Council’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle. Third-party audits are required to ensure that the U.S. and Canadian programs’ guidelines are followed.

Humane Endings

We believe animals should be provided a respectful and humane death. Compromised animals must be euthanized in a timely manner that aligns with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or World Organisation for Animal Health’s (WOAH) guidelines. Similarly, slaughter should also align with these guidelines. Efficient stunning prior to slaughter is important for animal welfare. 100 percent of our U.S. Oscar Mayer product suppliers report that they comply with our product specifications which require an annual third-party humane slaughter audit and regular internal animal welfare audits.


Disease prevention strategies such as husbandry, hygiene, and vaccinations must be the primary defenses against animal disease. However, even with excellent care, farm animals sometimes become ill. When this occurs, antimicrobial treatment (including antibiotics) can be an important component of humane animal care. Therapeutic antimicrobials should only be used after careful review by a veterinarian and treatment limited to ill and at-risk animals, treating the fewest animals possible. Alongside good farm management, responsible antimicrobial use can help protect food quality and enhance safety.

In the United States, where the majority of Kraft Heinz meat ingredients are purchased, we require our suppliers to meet or exceed the AVMA or WOAH guidelines for the judicious use of antimicrobial agents. Our meat and dairy products meet or exceed government regulations related to the use and administration of antimicrobials, including compliance with bans on antibiotics for growth promotion.


While studies conclude hormone supplements in cattle are safe for animals and for humans, we support ongoing research efforts to further demonstrate the safety and usefulness of supplemental hormones. For example, recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) is a hormone that can increase milk production in dairy cattle. Globally its usage varies widely in accordance with government regulations. In the United States, for example, hormones (including rbST) are not allowed to be used for growth promotion in pigs or poultry. In some countries, growth hormones are approved for use in beef and dairy cattle. We do not restrict their use in those instances. However, we support wider, industry initiatives to eliminate rbST from the supply.

Testing of Food Ingredients

Kraft Heinz does not support or condone the use of animals for research that is not essential to food safety, and we do not maintain any testing facilities. When required by governmental agencies, ingredient safety testing is completed by accredited third-party facilities following appropriate animal welfare guidelines. We do not support unnecessary testing and are advocates for replacing animal testing with other validated research methods.

Animal Welfare Risk Assessments

Annually, all Kraft Heinz suppliers of animal and animal-derived products are requested to complete an animal welfare risk self-assessment. The assessment was developed by a cross-functional internal panel that included animal welfare, procurement and quality team members and was reviewed by an external team of animal welfare scientists. The assessments review suppliers’ strengths and weaknesses on animal welfare policies, personnel training, transportation, stunning methods and auditing. Kraft Heinz’s animal welfare team works with lower performing suppliers, which make up a small percentage of our total supply chain. Together, they create action plans to develop policies and procedures that improve animal welfare. Low performing suppliers unwilling or unable to improve animal welfare may jeopardize their status as Kraft Heinz suppliers.

Results of our 2021 assessment are listed below and more details can be found in ESG Metrics. In 2021, we also began to develop a robust farm-level animal welfare audit program across our key animal commodities in line with industry leading frameworks.

* Figures displayed in the table above are average percentage based on supplier self-reporting though Kraft Heinz Animal Welfare Risk Assessment and are not weighted by volume.

** Transport time refers to the time traveled between farm and processing plant.