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September 5, 2023

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Animal Welfare

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New Food Purchasing Standards Will Reduce Meat, Improve Animal Welfare

The Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) recently released Version 3.0 of its standards for food service institutions. Used by more than 70 institutions throughout the country, the Good Food Purchasing standards are transforming our food system, including by reducing meat consumption and shifting purchasing toward more humane methods of raising farmed animals.

Animal welfare represents one of five key categories in GFPP’s values-based purchasing standards. “For years we’ve worked with the GFPP to shift food consumption patterns by leveraging the purchasing power of public institutions like schools, jails, and hospitals,” Farm Forward Executive Director Andrew deCoriolis said. He added, “The improvements made in Version 3.0 will increase that shift, representing a ‘much less and better’ approach to buying meat and other animal products — one we’re proud to support.”

Included in the updated standards are two important changes for animal welfare and meat reduction, championed by Farm Forward.

The updated food purchasing standards will:

  1. Ensure that institutions’ efforts to reduce meat consumption have the effect of decreasing the total number of animals raised for food. The new standards aim to prevent a situation wherein the decreased purchase of, say, beef, leads to an increase in the purchase of chicken.
  2. Increase the available opportunities to meet animal welfare standards by reducing meat, for example by offering plant-based dishes as the default option. The standards incentivize organizations to reduce over time the amount of meat they serve per meal.

Other changes reflected in Version 3.0 include animal welfare certification standards that represent higher welfare animal products. Read about other updates included in this newest version.

By advocating for values-based food purchasing, Farm Forward is able to make an impact on a large scale. Since 2016 we have helped lead the creation of GFPP’s animal welfare standards and provided free consulting and technical support to help institutions meet them.

Beyond our work with GFPP, we have long championed institutional policy work to change how the country eats and farms, including through programs like the Leadership Circle and DefaultVeg.

We are proud to have played an integral role in developing the latest version of the Good Food Purchasing Standards, and we will continue to fight to shape food policy that moves us away from factory farming and toward more humane and plant-forward food.