Free-range egg campaign calls for price premium

By Matt Atherton

- Last updated on GMT

Love Free Range Eggs called for retailers to not lower free-range egg prices after 2025
Love Free Range Eggs called for retailers to not lower free-range egg prices after 2025

Related tags Poultry farming Eggs

Almost 80% of UK shoppers are happy to pay a premium for free-range eggs, according to a survey by the Love Free Range Eggs campaign, adding to its calls for retailers to maintain the prices of free-range eggs.

Love Free Range Eggs campaign ambassador Myles Thomas said that consumers were happy to pay the slight premium for free-range that’s needed for the running of free-range chicken farms. It therefore said that retailers shouldn’t lower the prices for free-range eggs after colony-bred chicken eggs were phased out by 2025.

Thomas said: “Free-range eggs have traditionally enjoyed a small premium, which reflects the increased cost of running a unit that permits the birds space to range outside.

“Hens in enriched colonies or barn systems do not go outside and their eggs are cheaper to produce. To take that premium away would be disastrous for free-range egg producers.”

‘Disastrous for free-range egg producers’

The campaign survey found 78% of shoppers were happy to pay a premium for free-range eggs. Also, 64% agreed that eggs should be available at different price points.

Thomas said that retailers had a responsibility to inform the industry and consumer how they plan to react to the loss of battery chicken eggs.

“We need the retailers to tell the industry how they plan to fill the gap that’s going to be left by phasing out sourcing from colony production,”​ said Thomas.

“Whatever happens, consumers must not be misled. Putting a ‘cage-free’ label on a dozen eggs is not enough – consumers will assume that means the product is free-range. Shoppers need to be able to quickly distinguish between production systems, and our products must be clearly marked as British-produced free-range eggs.”

Retailers committed to stop selling colony-kept eggs

In August, every major UK retailer pledged to stop selling eggs produced by colony-kept hens by 2025. The movement started following a petition by 14-year-old Lucy Gavaghan in February. The petition called for Tesco to stop selling eggs from caged and barn-kept hens, and gained almost 300,000 supporters.

Animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming director of food business Tracey Jones said at the time: “The speed with which these announcements are being made demonstrates the power of market shift when forward thinking brands lead the way and act as a catalyst for change.

“It is a time of major change for laying hen welfare in the UK and the hope that a cage-free day will dawn in modern egg production looks increasingly feasible.”

Love Free Range Eggs survey – at a glance

  • 78% of shoppers happy to pay premium for free-range eggs
  • 64% agree eggs should be sold at different price points
  • 62% of 18–24 year olds happy to pay more for free-range
  • 87% of over 55 year olds say they already buy free-range eggs

Related topics Meat, poultry & seafood

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