Serving Up Sustainability

SPAR’s Chikka Chicken insists on environmental responsibility across the value chain

Sustainability at SPAR, and more specifically their freshly in-store prepared Chikka Chicken, is about joining the dots, not ticking the boxes. By embedding environmental responsibility into every activity in the value chain, Chikka Chicken aims to ensure that customers not only get great-tasting chicken but are also assured that their favourite meal is produced in a way that continues to reduce its impact on the environment.

According to Pianca Meintjies, SPAR Group Home Meal Replacement Manager, instead of viewing sustainability as a standalone exercise in compliance, it sits at the heart of Chikka Chicken’s business practices with environmental responsibility incorporated into every activity across the supply chain.

“We emphasize freshness and convenience so most of our products in our Chikka Chicken range are pre-cooked at a central processing plant to ensure consistent quality. When it arrives at the store, it simply needs to be baked or fried, so our customers know they are getting the freshest, tastiest chicken served hot every time” Pianca says. 

To ensure this freshness, food and hygiene have always been non-negotiables in the Chikka Chicken production process. Our supplier is internationally accredited to ensure their practices are on par with the best in the world. Over the past few years though, their environmental practices have become just as important. “It’s not enough to be compliant. We expect their sustainability practices to be internationally competitive too,” she continues.

To meet the ambitious sustainability targets set for Chikka Chicken, the supplier’s processing plant has committed to continuous improvement that has resulted in state-of-the-art facilities that boast international FSSC22000 accreditation. “We chose to partner with a supplier which has one of the most advanced plants in the country, if not the world,” explains Pianca.

The team at the factory are always working to incorporate the most recent technology and processes to further reduce its impact on the environment. In the past year, the supplier has advanced its wastewater recycling and reuse, is reducing its electricity consumption through solar projects across the business and is now also using organic waste for animal feed.

The most significant results have, however, come from the implementation of new processes for recycling waste. “We have added a sorting facility on site for our waste streams and so far this year, we are thrilled to have achieved an 86% reduction in waste to landfill.”  Pianca adds that these changes are over and above the plant’s already significant sustainability efforts which resulted in using less oil for frying. “The factory has invested heavily in state-of-the-art equipment that filters oil so that it can be re-used more than once. The quality of the oil is carefully monitored and as it reaches its end-of-life, it is recycled by certified third-party waste management companies to create biofuel.  It’s also important to us that we offer responsible convenience and that’s why our investment has included better packaging options. Whether it’s deliveries from our distribution centres to our stores or the final, piping hot takeaway that is handed to our customers, all our packaging is 100% recyclable across the supply chain,” she says.

As one of the brands in the SPAR Group portfolio, this is in line with the company’s broader sustainability goals. Chikka Chicken is, therefore, committed to helping its customers be inspired to make better choices and find solutions that improve the way they shop.

“As a responsible retailer, we are committed to a sustainable future, and we want to do our part, as caring for the environment is everyone’s responsibility. Thus, we also believe in educating our customers by communicating our efforts on our packaging, with the inclusion of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo which highlights our commitment to sourcing the Chikka Chicken packaging from FSC-certified forests and the Group’s “My SPAR, Our Tomorrow” logo, a public commitment to the future of our brand and our planet.   It is becoming increasingly important to consumers that their food is produced using eco-friendly methods, with our customers in mind we continue to focus on serving up sustainability,” Pianca concludes.

To try Chikka Chicken’s range of convenient, tasty and freshly prepared chicken, visit a SPAR store near you.

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