Happy chickens are at the heart of Moy Park’s business.
Based in County Armagh, the company has, since 2009, supplied Wetherspoon pubs with the marinated buffalo wings which spice up starters, sharing dishes and the Chicken Club menu and, from 2015, supplies the half chickens for the rotisseries at some airport sites.
Originating on a single dairy farm in Northern Ireland in 1943, Moy Park now owns 2,500 chicken houses on 800 farms. It was the first UK company to go free range in the 1980s and at, any one time, there are some 33 million chickens on the ground, all able to move around in as natural an environment as possible.
“Animal welfare is our first priority,” says head of foodservice Emma Hallam. “Healthy chickens are key to the business, and we know that it has a positive effect on the quality of the meat.”
Because it’s in control of its own farms, Moy Park is able to guarantee the health of three generations of stock, not only the parents of the 7.5 million birds hatched every week, but their grandparents, too, minimising the possibility of disease.
The company started cooking and processing its own chicken in 1975 and currently operates four primary and six added-value processing plants, working closely with customers like Wetherspoon to develop the kind of products which pub-goers expect.
The palm oil it uses comes from fully sustainable sources; indeed, in 2014, Moy Park achieved its goal of diverting 100% of its waste away from landfill. It has also greatly reduced its use of water and energy.
In 2013, it was awarded the title of Processor of the Year, in the Pig & Poultry Awards.