Seattle, WA - PCC Community Markets continues to take the lead when it comes to treating animals humanely, and offering consumers fresh, organic food.

WholeFoods Magazine's2016Retailer of the Yearhas just become the first retailer in the country to comprehensively address broiler chicken welfare - not only for fresh and frozen chicken but also ready-to-eat chicken products.

Asreported, the nation’s largest community-owned food market announced its commitment to improving the welfare of chickens raised for meat by meeting the standards of Compassion in World Farming’s Better Chicken Initiative (BCI) and the Joint Animal Protection Organization Statement on Broiler Chicken Welfare.

The BCI is Compassion in World Farming’s flagship program in the United States. Launched in 2014, it aims to improve the lives of chickens raised for meat - which comprise approximately 90% of farmed animals in America -through meaningful corporate engagement and public outreach.

The humane treatment of animals raised for meat has been a recurring concern for the organic industry. As WholeFoods Magazinereportedin March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) withdrew the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP)regulation, saying it exceeded the department’s “statutory authority." The rule would have increased federal regulation of livestock and poultry for certified organic producers and handlers, requiring organic egg factories to provide their hens with outdoor space to graze. The department said imposing new requirements would discourage farmers from obtaining organic certification.

The rule was officially withdrawn May 13th, 2018, asannouncedon the Federal Register.  Many industry leaders slammed the USDA for reversing animal welfare regulations, including the Organic Trade Association, (OTA), The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).

PCC Community Markets also announced that it will introduce a private-label line of organic, air-chilled chicken in partnership with California-based Pitman Farms. As the first farm in its industry to be verified with the Non-GMO Project, Pitman Farms has a long legacy of responsible farming, animal welfare and environmental standards. Available in store in late May, PCC Organic Chicken will include fresh chicken that meets the BCI requirements.

“Today we expand upon PCC’s longstanding commitment to healthier food production systems,” said Brenna Davis, PCC Community Markets VP of Social and Environmental Responsibility, “ensuring that chickens raised for meat are treated in ways recommended by our nation’s top experts. We are grateful to partner with Compassion in World Farming on this important issue, and together, we hope to inspire our industry to do better.”

In addition to this, the grocer is introducing Scratch-made Meals at Home, subscription-free meal kits available in some stores and for delivery through Instacart and Amazon Prime Now.

Created by the grocer’s in-house chefs, each kit features simple-to-follow, original recipes with best-in-class ingredients such as almost entirely organic produce and non-GMO, locally raised meats. All ingredients are hand-packed in-house.

The launch will begin with six globally inspired kits – including a vegetarian option – with additional recipes to follow every four weeks.

“The meal-kit market is growing at an incredible rate, and as a certified-organic grocer, PCC is uniquely positioned to succeed,” said Darrell Vannoy, the grocer's VP of merchandising. “We have access to the freshest, highest-quality ingredients right in our stores. Our kits will be individually hand-packed in our own local kitchens, not shipped days ago from a warehouse several states away. This allows PCC to offer customers greater flexibility and choice, and reduces costly waste. These are exactly the type of meal kits you’d expect from PCC: incredibly fresh, sustainably sourced and full of flavor.”

Operating for over 60 years, PCC Community Markets is the largest consumer-owned food market in the country, as well as one of the oldest grocery stores in Washington State, essentially creating the market for natural food in Seattle. Starting out in 1953 as a food buying club with 15 families, PCC has evolved into a cooperative with 11 locations in the Puget Sound region, 56,000 active members and $250 million in sales in 2015, with double-digit year-over-year growth.

PCC is dedicated to maintaining a high standard of quality for all its products and providing customers with local and sustainably grown produce. The retailer has been influential in determining food policy and sets an example by revising its inventory to match new standards and working with manufacturers to accommodate these standards.

As a cooperative, PCC members have an active role in the stores’ future, determining bylaws as well as nominating and voting for members of their Board of Trustees, who represent their interests. Because members are partial owners of its stores, PCC is uniquely accountable to them, actively working to “express and live their values,” says Heather Snavely, PCC’s vice president of marketing.

PCC Natural Markets Now PCC Community Markets