By Paul O'Rourke

Nichols Poultry has been donating bulk chicken to Loaves and Fishes for five years, ever since a former employee suggested the family company make room for Tasmanians doing it tough.

Nichols employee Jen Reid, who died in December 2020, was the partner of former Loaves and Fishes Tasmania warehouse manager Daniel Kropf.

Nichols, the State’s largest poultry producer, based in Sassafras, donates about a tonne of chicken every month.

Phil Stephenson

Chief poultry officer Phil Stephenson (pictured) said the company employed 120 locals and wanted to give back to the state’s disadvantaged through Loaves and Fishes.

“We want to be good community partners in everything we do,” he said.

“We are proud to be associated with Loaves and Fishes with whom we have developed a long and strong relationship, including having the charity cater for our staff events.

“The fresh and frozen chicken we supply is perfectly good for eating but classed as B grade due to slight imperfections in appearance.”

The seconds would normally be sold, predominantly for use in pet food.

The relationship has extended beyond Nichols to other TasFoods family members, including Beta Milk, Pyengana Dairy, Meander Valley Dairy, and Shima Wasabi.

Nichols Poultry was founded in 1988 by the Nichols family to be an industry leader for sustainability and animal welfare.

“We continue the tradition today with leading practices in air-chilled chicken, our own onsite wind generation, and our high welfare standard of free-range chicken,” Phil said.

Loaves and Fishes general manager Aaron Kropf said Nichols' product was used in many of the ready-made meal dishes produced in the Devonport kitchen.

“We are appreciative of the consistent and generous supply from Nichols, saving us tens of thousands of dollars a year in poultry we would otherwise have to buy to produce these meals.