Why did the chicken cross the road? Answer: To fulfill its destiny in the portfolio of poultry products offered by Farmer's Pride. Doing business as Bell & Evans, the company produces fresh, organic chicken and a slew of ready-to-cook and fully-cooked entrees and snacks. Bell birds, touted as healthier fare, are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones, and fed hexane-free soy bean meal. Farmer's Pride also offers Cornish game hen, duck, and roaster chicken. Customers have included natural and national food retailers Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and Giant, as well as restaurantsChipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread. Founded in the 1890s by Howard Bell and Carlton Evans, the company is owned by Scott Sechler.
Farmer's Pride has gained notice for its poultry raising practices as well as for its humane slaughter system. The company's system, Angila Autoflow, is designed to take the birds into a chamber where carbon dioxide gas is slowly released, leaving the bird unconscious. It is cited as less stressful for the animals (and the workers hanging them on the shackles) and avoids the bruised skin and broken bones resulting from struggling and flapping wings. A significant investment, conversion to the new technology cost roughly $3 million. Farmer's Pride, which processes about 840,000 birds a week, began selling chicken slaughtered under the new system in 2011. – less