Signature Farms chicken is sold in Albertsons Companies stores such as Albertsons, Safeway, and Vons. Because the brand is owned by the grocery store itself, it is much cheaper than other meat products. Despite the low cost, this product is not very sustainable. One major problem I see with this product is it is difficult for the consumer to know where the chicken is being sourced from, as Signature Farms has multiple suppliers, each with different farming practices. I am also bothered by the fact that Albertsons, the parent company of the Signature Farms brand, lists sustainability as one of their top values, but is vague about how they are implementing sustainability in their stores and private brands. While I appreciate seeing big companies like Albertsons valuing sustainability, this is a case where I am not sure how genuine they are. I would like to see more effort on their part to implement sustainable practices for me to believe sustainability is genuinely one of their core values rather than a marketing scheme. If you are going to buy chicken as a protein source, I would not recommend this product.
Chicken is lower on the list of greenhouse gas emissions per 100 grams of protein when compared to other animal products such as beef, seafood, and milk. That being said, the production of chicken still creates more greenhouse gases than tofu, peas, and nuts. The packaging for Signature Farms Chicken is a combination of hard and soft plastic, and does not have any clear recycling instructions.
Signature Farms brand chicken has multiple suppliers including Foster Farms, Sanderson Farms, and Pilgrim’s Pride. While Foster Farms does not routinely use antibiotics, Sanderson Farms and Pilgrim’s Pride both use “conventional” agricultural techniques. This implies the routine use of antibiotics, which can lead to the problem of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacterial diseases can no longer be treated because the bacteria have developed immunity to the antibiotics. The routine use of antibiotics is an unsustainable practice that threatens human health and the future production of animal proteins. None of the chicken suppliers use organic farming practices for this product, which means the feed used for the birds can come from non organic sources.
Signature Farms is owned by the Albertsons Companies. Albertsons lists sustainability as one of their top values, but the information on their website is vague as to how they are going to implement sustainable business practices. Some specifics their website does mention are labeling products to indicate locality, working with FishWise to use more sustainable seafood suppliers, and partnering with charitable organizations to feed those in need. While I applaud these efforts, they seem very insignificant when you realize Albertsons is the second largest grocery chain in the United States. This means they will need more than a few sustainability initiatives to reduce their planetary impact. Albertsons has the potential to set an example for how sustainability can be implemented in grocery stores, but they have not done so. In terms of the specific suppliers for Signature Farms Chicken Breast, Fosters Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Sandersons Farms, their sustainability varies greatly. Fosters Farms has done a good job almost entirely eliminating their use of antibiotics. They also have many other organic products and initiatives to implement sustainable farming practices. The same cannot be said for Sandersons Farms and Pilgrims Pride. As mentioned earlier, this creates a problem for us consumers because if we buy from the Signature Farms Brand, it is hard to trace where our product is actually coming from.