Co-op announces food hygiene and cooking convenience initiative

20 November 2014

The Co-operative Food has today unveiled a major food safety initiative by announcing that its entire ‘whole chicken’ range will only be available to buy in ‘roast-in-the-bag’ packaging. The decision follows a marked shift in consumer demand.

The move, which is the first by a UK retailer, will support customer food safety by eliminating the need for consumers to handle raw chicken. This limits the potential spread of bacteria, and aids preparation and cooking convenience for time-pressed cooks.

Foods Standards Agency guidelines encourage consumers not to wash raw chicken prior to cooking and, after handling raw chicken, to wash hands and utensils thoroughly. The launch of The Co-operative Food roast-in-the-bag chickens, in January 2015, will provide extra reassurance to consumers that they can prepare roast chicken safely in their own home.

The rollout of the new packaging, at no extra cost to the customer, follows a successful trial of whole chickens in roast-in-the-bag packaging, which now account for a fifth of all whole chicken purchases at The Co-op. As well as helping drive food safety, the packaging offers ease and convenience while the roasting bag also seals in chicken juices and flavour. A range of unseasoned and marinated chickens will be available across the range.

Steve Murrells, Retail Chief Executive, The Co-operative Group, said:

"I am proud that The Co-operative Food will be the first UK retailer to take this step, which underlines our commitment to customer convenience and food safety. Shoppers have told us it will make cooking easier because the chicken requires no preparation and can be placed straight in the oven, making it convenient for time-pressed families. Importantly, the new packaging offers a clear food safety advantage."

He added:

"Those customers that want to season or flavour their chicken can still do so, but they should ensure they follow good kitchen hygiene and avoid washing chicken."

Steve Wearne, Director of Policy at the FSA said:

“The FSA welcomes the Co-op’s introduction of ‘roast-in-the-bag’ packaging for their chickens. We are looking to retailers and their suppliers to introduce a range of actions to help reduce the risks to customers from potentially harmful food bugs, especially Campylobacter which is currently the biggest cause of food poisoning in the UK. ‘Roast-in-the-bag’ packaging is one initiative that can help consumers avoid handling raw meat and reduce possible cross contamination in the kitchen. We hope to see more action like this from retailers to help tackle the problem Campylobacter.”

Current Roast in Bag range:

The Co-operative British Extra Tasty Whole Chicken 1.56kg £6
The Co-operative British Pork, Sage & Onion Stuffed Whole Chicken 1.5kg £6
The Co-operative British Piri Piri Whole Chicken 1.56kg £6

Available January 2015:

The Co-operative British Small Whole Chicken 1.1kg-1.39kg £4.50
The Co-operative British Medium Whole Chicken 1.56kg £5 – or permanently 2 for £8
The Co-operative British Large Whole Chicken 1.87kg £6 – or permanently 2 for £10
The Co-operative British Free Range Whole Chicken (average) 1.5kg £5.75/kg – priced per kilogram


For further information please contact:

Victoria Simons
PR Manager – Retail
The Co-operative
Tel: 0161 767 4161 / 07738 621076


Notes to Editors:

The Co-operative Group, which is the UK’s largest co-operative business with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services, has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, The Co-operative Group operates a total of 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 employees and an annual turnover of approximately £11 billion.