Reitan Retail and Norsk Kylling open processing plant for slower growing chicken
Through Norsk Kylling and REMA 1000, Reitan Retail has invested NOK 2 billion in the world's most climate-friendly and advanced processing plant for more responsibly produced chicken. The initiative means that three out of 10 chickens on Norwegian dinner tables are now more slowly growing than the most common chicken breed in Norway.
Illustration photo of Norsk Kylling's processing plant at Orkanger, Norway
The new production facility at Orkanger in Trøndelag officially opens on Thursday 21 October.
"The plant will be the centrepiece of an ambitious commitment to agriculture and food production throughout the white meat value chain, setting a new standard for innovation, energy-smart solutions and circular economy," says CEO of Reitan Retail and Chairman of the Board of Norsk Kylling, Ole Robert Reitan.
Norsk Kylling produces the chicken breed Hubbard, which grows slower than the more common Ross breed. Hubbard chicken has a healthier appetite, and better health, which contributes to better animal welfare. The birds are healthier, more active and live longer. For consumers, that means an opportunity for a healthier and more sustainable choice.
“Our chicken both is better and is better off than other chicken in Norway. Therefore, the focus on Norsk Kylling is an important part of our strategy and a promise to the customer to make it easier to make healthy and sustainable choices," says Ole Robert Reitan.
Cuts emissions by almost 100 percent
Moving operations to the new plant will cut greenhouse gas emissions from Norsk Kylling's industrial processes by almost 100 percent. To achieve this, the plant uses a unique renewable energy mix consisting of, among other things, residual heat from nearby industry, solar cells, energy storage and seawater cooling. Smart management of energy use and energy acquisition is also an important part of the energy concept.
"We aim to create the world's best value chain for food production, where good animal welfare for the chickens is a key factor. Norsk Kylling and REMA 1000's work on animal welfare is noticed internationally. Last year we won the animal welfare award Good Chicken Award," says Kjell Stokbakken, CEO of Norsk Kylling.
About NOK 2 billion has been invested in the state-of-the-art processing plant at Orkanger – a clear signal of a continued binding, Trøndelag presence from Norsk Kylling in the years to come.
Ole Robert Reitan says the factory is an idea of which direction the company wants to invest.
“This facility is a beacon that gives a clear message to the outside world what we at Reitan Retail, REMA 1000 and Norsk Kylling stand for and believe in. We will produce an even more sustainable and responsible product, of high quality and with a high animal welfare standard," he says.
Succeeding with new chicken breed
Today, the Norwegian Chicken value chain requires up to three million fewer birds to produce the same amount of meat as for the production of Ross chicken, which is the most common chicken breed in Norway.
As the first major producer in Norway, Norsk Kylling switched its entire production to Hubbard chicken in 2018, a chicken breed that has on average 15 percent less daily growth, 41 percent longer life, three percent lower mortality and 75 percent lower mortality in transportation. The transition has been described as an important instrument for improving animal welfare in Norwegian chicken production, and the focus on Norsk Kylling is noticed by professionals from all over the world.
“When we switched to Hubbard chicken, 14 million chickens a year were replaced in favor of a chicken that lives longer and is better off than what has been common in Norwegian chicken production. This has made everyday life easier, better and more profitable for chicken farmers. But the motivation for the restructuring was that we should do what was right," says Reitan.
The Hubbard chicken from Norsk Kylling can be purchased at REMA 1000 stores in Norway through the product names Solvinge and Stange.
“The customers today want real value for money. They want quality, and it should be simple and affordable, but also responsible and sustainable. This initiative responds to all this," says Reitan.
About Norsk Kylling
Norsk Kylling AS is a food company located at Orkanger in Orkland municipality in Trøndelag, Norway. The business was founded in 1991. In 2012, the company was wholly owned by REMA 1000, which initiated a major change process for the entire business.
Our ambition is clear. We will create a green value chain that goes new ways and sets a new standard for tomorrow's food production.
About Reitan Retail
Reitan Retail is a value-driven trading company with 39,000 employees and 3,800 outlets in seven Nordic and Baltic countries. The company has operations in grocery, service trade and mobility in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania through a broad portfolio of brands, such as REMA 1000, Narvesen, Pressbyrån, 7-Eleven, R-kioski and Uno-X.
Our goal is to create the best customer experiences in people's everyday lives. We are present where people are, close to the customer and local communities, and we operate easily and responsibly. In this way, we create value for communities, for our partners and not least for the customer – our chief executive.
CEO of Reitan Retail, Ole Robert Reitan (left) and managing director of Norsk Kylling, Kjell Stokbakken (Photo: Norsk Kylling)