On 9 October 2015, HELL became New Zealand’s first pizza company to offer 100% guaranteed free-range pizza, following changes to all its chicken and pork products, as well as some products containing eggs.
While the brand is well known for its often irreverent marketing, customers also know the quality of the food it produces is far beyond that of the multinational cut-price pizza chains. The addition of free-range ingredients at no extra cost was a simple decision, says HELL GM Ben Cumming.
“Providing a quality product is the number one founding principle of HELL and will always come before anything else,” says Cumming. “By switching to free range ingredients on all our pizzas we believe we are serving an even better product to our customers whilst also demonstrating some of the values HELL stands for.”
“As a result of the change, our raw food costs will increase; however, we’ve made the decision to not increase our prices,” says Cumming. “We know that our customers want value, which is very different to being the cheapest, and believe that the move to free range will increase the number of pizzas we sell, offsetting the additional cost to a certain extent.”
While free-range products continue to make up a small percentage of the New Zealand produce market, HELL believes that New Zealanders have come to place more value on the welfare of what ends up on their plates. As such, all the farms from which HELL sources its meat are independently audited to ensure they meet the strict list of internationally recognised requirements for animal welfare known as the ‘Five Freedoms’.
What are the “Five Freedoms”?
- Freedom from hunger and thirst: by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
- Freedom from discomfort: by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease: by prevention, rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to express natural behavior: by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and the company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from fear and distress: by ensuring conditions and treatment that avoid mental suffering.
HELL’s new ingredients come from its excellent suppliers Tegel (chicken) and Harmony (pork), which have both worked extremely hard alongside HELL for over a year to make the change possible.
“Tegel has developed two new free-range farms with comfy barns and plenty of open space just to supply HELL. The pork we get from Harmony farms is from pigs that are grain fed and live their entire lives outdoors; no crates, no pens, only wide-open pastures. Our ingredients can be wandering around the farm on Saturday and on a pizza by Monday,” says Cumming.