Big Food Fight: Hugh’s Chicken Run

Just a quick reminder that as part of Channel 4’s Big Food Fight, Hugh Fearnley-Whittinstall kicks things off tonight at 9pm.

This January, you will never look at roast chicken in the same way again.

In three hard-hitting programmes, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall explores the horrors of intensive chicken farming. The journey takes him far from the cosy lifestyle of River Cottage and into the harrowing conditions of running his own modern poultry production line.

Hugh plans to kickstart a chicken revolution in the UK. He wants to replace the cheap chickens sold by supermarkets at less than a price of a pint of beer for ethically reared free-range chicken. After the salmonella crisis of the 1980s, the UK willingly embraced free range eggs. Can the same now be done for the broiler chickens raised for their meat? The chicken revolution begins in the town of Axminster and its local Tescos, where the residents of the local Millway estate face the challenge of rearing free range birds while nearby Hugh’s new factory churns out its horrors.

His plan is that for one week more than 50% of chicken bought and consumed in Axminster is free range. That includes curry houses and burger bars, ready made sandwiches and pub lunches. At the moment, less than 5% of the chicken sold in the UK is free range so it’s a major undertaking.

But can the well-meaning plan of a celebrity chef survive the sceptical locals and the interests of the big supermarkets? How will ordinary people respond to lectures on animal welfare from the posh bloke off the telly? And what happens when the rumour goes around town that Hugh is only raising awareness to boost sales of chicken in his own shop?

The true and terrible cost of the cheap chicken on your plate is revealed in Hugh’s Chicken Run. It launches the Big Food Fight, a season of programming that aims to raise awareness and encourage debate about food production, animal welfare and healthy eating.

Read our post about Hugh’s Chicken Out campaign.


About itsfood

An IT Manager with an interest in tech (because he's a geek who enjoys his job too much) and food & wine (because he enjoys eating and drinking when not working).
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6 Responses to Big Food Fight: Hugh’s Chicken Run

  1. Pingback: Big Food Fight, Hugh and our Big Day! « ITs Food

  2. Steve Barton says:

    I applaud this compelling show and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall determination to highlight the serious issue of battery hen farming and the national supermarkets seemingly blatant support of this dire practice.

    Two chickens on a buy one get one free offer for just £5.00? That’s just £2.50 each. I’m seriously considering keeping chickens here at North Lodge, I’ve done my home work and I’ve learned that I can not buy live, clucking, happy chickens for £2.50 each. But in my local Tesco’s I can: killed, plucked and beautifully packaged complete with cooking instructions. Something ‘aint quite right.

    And this is where the problem lies: Supermarkets are setting unrealistically cheap prices for produce through intensive farming which we as consumers are beginning to accept as a standard. Farm shops are NOT expensive. Free range is NOT expensive. It is realistically priced. Please do not be misled by supermarket pricing; they are systematically brainwashing us consumers into believing that £2.50 is how much a chicken should cost and then confining the organic, ethically produced food to the expensive, exclusive Organic Shelf.

    Comments from the Axminster Single Mother is typical; “But I can’t afford to buy free range”. I know there are people who are on such a tight budget that they genuinely can not afford to buy free range (I myself have certainly been in that situation), but I wouldn’t mind betting, with just a little education, that most can.

    Learn how to joint a chicken and try out a few recipes.

  3. Pingback: Opinion: Hugh’s Chicken Run « ITs Food

  4. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s chicken program was the inspiration behind my family and I keeping chickens in our back garden.

    We haven’t yet had any eggs – we got them as point of layers, so they’re about 19 weeks old now.

    The other upshot from this is that they keep the slugs and other unwanted pests down and the ‘cleanings’ from their chicken run goes straight on the compost heap – so good news all round for gardeners eh?

    At last we seem to be living in a age when celebs challange big food business’ and due to their public exposure shame the ‘good ones’ into action.

  5. itsfood says:

    Hi KeepingChickens, I agree completely with you, it’s great Hugh has been able to influence big business. Let’s hope he continues with his efforts with Tesco!

    Nice website by the way!

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