Autumn has firmly made its mark, with leaves on the ground and the evenings drawing in, which means our instinct to hibernate will kick in. One key shift is that our customers switch to buying ingredients for a traditional Sunday roast.
Over the years of looking after Sainsbury’s products, one of my proudest moments was the launch of the free range Norfolk Black Chicken – which is great cooked whole for a Sunday lunch. The journey to come up with a new breed of chicken started three years ago and was born from the success of the Norfolk Black Turkey that our supplier Traditional Norfolk Poultry has been rearing for Sainsbury’s for several years. The result from all the breeding research and development to identify the parent birds is a free to roam corn fed British chicken. Once cooked, the meat is creamy and succulent with clear rich juices, ideal for making the gravy as well as the main meal.
Throughout the development of this new breed, the aim was to produce a chicken that had the same quality attributes as the turkey. The main criteria for this new bred was to be plump breasted with strong meaty legs, with high welfare characteristics and above all else, taste incredible with moist and succulent meat. And of course it needed to have black feathers.
The Norfolk Black Chicken has predominantly black feathers with a gold collar and the black legs make it very distinctive from other chickens, and really help the bird stand out when it’s on our shelves.
The chickens are born and raised in East Anglia where they are free to roam and forage in fields planted with Woodland trees, shrubs and game cover, allowing them to express their natural behaviour.
The development and launch goes further than offering an exciting and tasty new product for our customers, it highlights the exciting collaborations we can create with our farmers and suppliers and the wider benefits such as donations to Woodland Trust through the sale of each chicken sold. Since Taste the Difference Norfolk Black Chicken launched last year we’ve been able to donation nearly half a million pounds to the charity.