Using only free-range eggs in own-brand food has helped the Co-op win the People’s Choice award for animal welfare at the RSPCA’s Good Business awards.
Almost half of the 15,000 people who voted backed the Co-op, ahead of Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, the other shortlisted entries.
The RSPCA runs the Good Business Awards to celebrate firms which improve animal welfare.
The Independent is media sponsor of the People’s Choice award.
At a ceremony at One Marylebone in London on Wednesday night, one judge, the broadcaster Richard Johnson, said that shoppers had continued to buy higher welfare meat during the recession which suggested that interest in the way animals were farmed was a long-term trend.
"It is encouraging and reassuring to see such big retailers like The Co-operative actively listening to their customers and acting on the public desire for improvement in animal welfare.
“The Co-operative ensures that all eggs used as ingredients in The Co-operative brand products are free range – a huge step forward for retailing,” he said.
Sainsbury’s, which sells the most meat certified by the RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme, was named the supermarket to have made most progress. Vegetable box scheme firm Abel & Cole and butcher The Ginger Pig Company also won awards.
RSPCA Good Business Awards 2010
1. Restaurants and Pubs Winners 2010
· The Feathers Inn – Winner
· McDonald’s UK – Highly Commended
2. Food Retail Winners 2010
· Abel & Cole – Winner
· Ginger Pig Limited – Highly Commended
3. People’s Choice Award Winners 2010
· The Co-operative – People’s Choice Award
· Sainsbury’s – Most Progress Award
4. Catering Winners 2010:
· Virgin Trains – Winner
1. Small Company Award for Fashion Winners 2010
· Junky Styling – winner
· Eloise Grey – highly commended
2. Small Company Award for Accessories Winners 2010
· The North Circular – winner
3. Small Company Award for Sportswear Winners 2010
· Finisterre – winner
· Rapanui – highly commended
4. Best Newcomer 2010
· Nature’s Boutique
5. Large Company Award Winners 2010
· New Look – winner
· George@ASDA – highly commended
6. Outstanding Achievement Award 2010
· Marks and Spencer