Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Bell & Evans: A True Partnership with a Caring Producer

Our selection of meat and poultry is renowned for great taste and superior quality. We believe this has a lot to do with the care that goes into raising the animals and the true partnerships we develop with the farmers and ranchers that supply our stores. Farmers and ranchers dedicated to meeting our animal welfare standards.

Bell & Evans, a leading producer of chickens raised without antibiotics, is one such supplier. The birds are raised on an all-vegetarian diet in a low stress environment — a modern facility equipped with the latest technology.

In this video, Scott Sechler, owner of Bell & Evans, shares the philosophy behind his operation:

 


This blog post previously contained an outdated video about a supplier. We have removed the video to prevent confusion. We have always believed in and fought for the improvement of welfare for farm animals industry-wide, and all the pork, beef, chicken and turkey in our fresh meat cases comes from producers who have achieved certification to Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating system.


 

Bell & Evan’s attention to animal welfare and quality extends to other parts of their business as well.

An Alternative Take on Processing

Scott spent years researching the best way to process chickens and as a result implemented an alternative way to process chicken: Slow Induction Anesthesia (SIA), also known as controlled-atmosphere stunning.

This system uses carbon dioxide to gently render the birds unconscious – birds are kept in the modular crates that they were loaded into at the farm and moved into the SIA tunnel. When they come out at the end of the tunnel, they are unconscious and are then processed without pain, suffering or stress.

Scott believes this lack of stress also results in better tasting meat.

Air Chilled for Flavorful Meat

Bell & Evans is also one of a handful of chicken processors have recently embraced the air-chilled method of processing chicken, a method that’s been used in Europe for more than 40 years.

Air chilling offers some tasty benefits to the more commonly used water-chilling method: It keeps the meat juicy and tender, and it keeps the natural flavor of the bird locked inside. Air-chilled chicken also cooks faster than birds processed in water.

You can find Bell & Evans frozen chicken in our stores nationwide and their fresh chicken is sold in select stores – make sure to ask your butcher.

Have you tried air-chilled chicken? Could you taste the difference?