Plant-based fried chicken brand VFC has responded furiously to a new KFC marketing campaign that appears to show high welfare standards at a farm supplying the fast-food chain.
For the campaign, KFC teamed up with social media influencer Niko Omilana, inviting him to go “behind the bucket” at the chicken farm. The film shows the floor of the shed covered in fresh straw, perches and bells provided to enrich the chickens’ lives, healthy birds, and a reasonable amount of space.
But VFC was sceptical, having investigated several poultry farms and found consistently poor conditions. The company, which has previously said it intends to “take on the chicken industry” and “end factory farming”, tracked down the farm used in the film and entered with a filmmaker. Just a few weeks after KFC’s campaign began, VFC captured footage and photos that appeared to show inhumane conditions.
Inside the shed, VFC says it found no straw, a floor sodden with faeces, no bells, and the perches far too high for the chickens to reach. The company reports that there were several sick and injured birds, and bins full of carcasses outside the unit. There were also dead birds lying in a wheelbarrow and on the floor of the shed, which was far more crowded than shown in KFC’s film.
“This is the most disingenuous marketing campaign we have seen for a long time,” said Matthew Glover, co-founder of VFC. “This portrayal of chicken farming is utterly misleading and seeks to reassure the public that all is well, when nothing could be further from the truth. We were not surprised to find that things were this bad because this is the everyday reality of intensive chicken farming. But it leaves us with just one question: did the farm lie to KFC about its welfare standards, or is KFC lying to the rest of us?”