We expect that the following five freedom principles are ensured in the primary production of all our products of animal origin:
• Freedom from hunger, thirst and unsuitable diet
• Freedom from fear and long-term stress
• Freedom from physical and emotional suffering
• Freedom from pain, injury and disease
• Freedom to express natural behaviour typical to the species
We expect the primary producers of farm animals, transport firms and abattoirs to comply with animal welfare legislation.
We expect the primary producers of farm animals, transport firms and abattoirs in a contractual relationship with Kesko to comply with the meat industry’s mode of production programmes and auditing procedures.
We encourage Finnish pig farms to join Sikava, the health classification register for swine herds, and cattle farms join Naseva, the health care register for cattle herds. Pork produced in accordance with Sikava procedures can be marked with the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira's Laatuvastuu national quality system label. In our selection choices, we favour pork products marked with the Laatuvastuu label.
We support the increase of video monitoring at the slaughterhouses to verify procedures promoting production animal welfare and to facilitate authority supervision.
K-food stores' versatile local food selections are a strategic choice. K-food retailers support the production of local food and the livelihood of local producers. K-food retailers know the local meat producers. Since the traceability chain of the products is short, it is easier to verify the appropriate treatment of farm animals in the primary production facility.
We encourage K-food retailers to include local game in their selections.
Organic production is a monitored system that takes into account specific animal welfare requirements and the animals' natural behavioural needs. Despite limited availability, we wish to ensure a good selection of organic meat for K-food store customers. Through our own communication channels, we aim to promote consumer understanding of the principles of organic production.
In accordance with K Group's fish and shellfish statement, our selection does not include endangered fish or shellfish species.
When making decisions concerning selections, we favour sustainable stocks of fish and MSC and ASC certified suppliers. Kespro has an MSC and ASC certificate.
We encourage K-food retailers to sell sustainably caught fish from local waters. In our multi-year K Fishpaths collaboration, we work together with WWF Finland to help endangered migratory fish by removing unnecessary migration obstacles and restoring spawning grounds.
From the start of 2026, we will no longer accept shell eggs produced in furnished cages into Kesko's selections. The same applies to eggs used as an ingredient in our own brand products.
Our aim is that K-retailers will stop the sale and store-specific procurement of eggs laid by hens in furnished cages by the end of 2025.
Because some primary producers invested in furnished cages to meet with legislative requirements at the start of 2012, we do not consider excluding eggs from furnished cages from our selections a sustainable option before that.
To encourage producers to move from furnished cages to more ethical forms of production, our aim is to add Pirkka free-range and organic eggs to our Thank the Producer model, in which we pay additional support directly to the primary producer.
We do not accept into our selections any duck or goose liver which has been produced using force feeding.
We do not accept white veal meat into our selections.
We recommend the use of pain relief for the castration of male pigs. In some EU countries, castration without pain relief has already been banned in legislation. Many Finnish meat industry companies' production method guidelines also require the use of pain relief.
We recommend the use of pain relief for the disbudding of cattle calves.
We require that insect producers follow Evira's guideline 10588/2 (16 March 2018) and its chapter 6.4. Animal Welfare.
We do not approve the use of antibiotics to promote growth or to prevent diseases. In accordance with Finnish legislation, antibiotics are not preventatively or routinely used in meat production; instead, they are only used prescribed and supervised by a veterinarian to treat individual animals. Almost all fresh meat we sell is of Finnish origin. Our condition also covers meat produced outside Finland for our own brand products and meat imported by us.
We do not accept the meat of hormone-treated animals into our selections. The use of hormones to promote growth in farm animals is banned in all EU countries. Any meat imported from outside the EU must meet with EU legislation's residue requirements. In practice, this means that the import of hormone meat into the EU is banned.
We do not accept into our selections food of animal-origin in which the production animals have been genetically modified or cloned.
We want to offer our customers vegetarian alternatives. Our aim is that at least 400 K-food stores will have a dedicated "veggie shelf" for vegetable protein products by 2020.
We comply with EU legislation (Reg 1223/2009), which bans the sale of cosmetics products based on animal testing after the animal test ban was implemented (in 2013). The ban concerns both finished products and cosmetics ingredients.
Our selections include some products (such as pillows and duvets) which contain down. We do not accept products into our selections that contain down plucked from live birds. We do not accept Easter decorations or other decorative items that contain feathers plucked from live birds into our selections.
We do not accept angora products that include fur plucked from live rabbits into our selections.
We do not accept merino wool products whose primary production uses the mulesing method into our selections.
Our selections do not include product groups which typically may contain fur.
We only accept leather products that are the bi-product of food production into our selections.
Kesko's animal welfare policy was published on 3 May 2018.