Noodles & Company Animal Welfare Commitment
Noodles & Company was founded on and remains committed to providing customers with delicious freshly-cooked food made from the best ingredients. We recognize that humane animal farming practices are critical to ensuring sustained food safety and high quality, and are an important consideration for informed consumers who increasingly support brands that align with their values.
From our first day of business, we have expected our suppliers to meet or exceed all industry standards regarding farm animal welfare and safety. Since then, we have initiated a number of milestones to support the advancement of new technologies and methods for ensuring humane treatment of the animals in our supply chain.
We are pleased to announce that we are broadening and strengthening our company’s long-term commitment to practice as well as advance the important cause of higher welfare, sustainable animal farming. In partnership with the respected international animal welfare organization Compassion in World Farming, we have committed to improved conditions for our entire broiler chicken supply by the year 2024.
ANIMAL WELFARE HISTORY
Over the years, Noodles has advanced the principles of sustainable, humane animal farming through several key initiatives:
Pigs: 100% of our pork comes from sows raised in group housing systems.
Implemented in 2012 our pork program includes the mandatory use of group housing for the majority of each sows’ pregnancy. We continue to seek out suppliers who are working to eliminate the use of crates entirely.
In 2015 we transitioned to bacon that meets the same requirements.
Our pork program also ensures that antibiotics are never used subtherapeutically or for growth promotion, but that animals are treated in the case that they are sick and require treatment.
Laying Hens: We are currently 100% cage-free across our supply chain.
In 2013, we fully transitioned our liquid egg purchases to eggs laid in a cage-free environment
Dairy Cows: Starting in 2013, we began to source dairy products from cows that have never been given artificial growth stimulants or hormones.
Today, 100% of our cheddar jack, Montamore, Parmesan, feta, butter and cooking cream meets these requirements.
Cows used in the production of milk to make our cheddar jack, feta, Parmesan, and Montamore cheeses as well as our butter and cream currently comply with the National Milk Producers Federation FARM program, which works with farms to uphold the best animal care practices such as the following:
- No tail docking
- A valid Veterinary-Client Patient Relationship
- A signed Dairy Cattle Care Ethics form & Training documentation for all employees with animal care responsibilities
We aim to continue expanding the plant-based options for our guests as we have with the 100% organic tofu we source for use in our restaurants. Our menu provides many vegetarian and vegan options, providing our guests with flexibility in eating in a way that matches their lifestyle.
COMMITMENTS TO NEW STANDARDS
Noodles has partnered with Compassion in World Farming and other independent experts to assist us in identifying, establishing and advocating support for the continued advancement of our sourcing practices. Among the practices to which Noodles is committing:
Broiler chickens: By 2024, the Company will align its supply chain with the Global Animal Partnership’s (GAP) Broiler Chicken Standards to achieve the following:
- Moving to breeds of birds approved by GAP that drive significantly higher welfare outcomes
- Reducing stocking density to GAP approved levels
- Providing birds with improved environments, which include litter, lighting, and enrichment that meets GAP’s new standards
- Moving to a more humane practice of slaughter that avoids live-dumping and live-shackling by implementing a pre-shackle, multi-step controlled atmosphere processing system
- Demonstrating compliance with these requirements via a vigorous third party audit system
Dairy cows: We will continue to work with our dairy suppliers to ensure that in instances when disbudding is performed, effective pain management related to disbudding must be administered by a veterinary professional. We will also work to ensure that detailed written procedures, overseen by a veterinary professional, for management of injured and non-ambulatory animals as well as euthanasia are in place by our dairy suppliers.
Pigs: We will continue to work with our pork suppliers to eliminate the use of routine tail docking and teeth clipping. We will report progress against this goal in future updates.
Going forward, we will continue to address some of the most pressing cross-species welfare concerns. These include, but are not limited to:
- The elimination of close confinement systems (gestation crates, farrowing crates etc.)
- The elimination of routine physical alterations (tail docking, teeth clipping, disbudding etc.). In instances where procedures are performed, we commit to working with our suppliers to partner with veterinary professionals to ensure effective pain management.
As a relatively small purchaser of chicken, pork, beef and dairy, we will work with animal welfare experts, growers, suppliers, competitors and other market participants to identify cost-effective solutions for our industry.
As we transition our entire supply chain to support advanced farm animal welfare practices, we intend to guide our approach by the “Five Freedoms” first developed by the UK Farm Animal and Welfare Council. These rightly state that every farm animal should have:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease
- Freedom to express normal behavior
- Freedom from fear and distress
We look forward to providing our guests and stakeholders annual updates on our progress against these goals.
To read our full press release, click here.