Factory-farmed chickens have been shunned by consumers, with sales falling 7 per cent since last year. Sales of free-range chickens, by comparison, have risen by 35 per cent.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s have recently reported shortages in free-range chicken since the recent campaigns by Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Country Life, saying that demand is outstripping supply.

Tesco is doubling its order for higher-welfare chickens, while Sainsbury’s will be importing free-range chickens from France.

Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall said: ‘We are going to keep the pressure up and we are going to do everything we can to make sure that this is not a flash in the pan.’

Earlier this month, Tesco was denounced by the National Farmers’ Union when it announced sales of a £1.99 chicken.

800 million chickens are bred in the UK each year, with 92 per cent still being of the ‘standard’ variety. However, this may change after today’s announcement that sales of free-range chicken has increased by 35 per cent year on year.

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