Following examination of contracts, the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) and its legal representatives Birketts LLP are calling for major reforms that would restore some balance for farmers.
The BFREPA and Birketts have recommended improvements in various contract areas including exclusivity, codes of practice, pricing and payment, grading, indemnities and duration or termination.
Chief executive Robert Gooch is currently in dialogue with 41 packers to discuss the BFREPA’s concerns and ask for feedback. This dialogue will continue until February before model contracts are created that will be available to members and help them secure “fairer terms” when negotiating with packers.
‘Right to a fair contract’
Gooch said: “Producers have a right to a fair contract that gives them confidence to continue to invest in their businesses and produce a great product.
“Our findings are that contracts are very one-sided in favour of the buyer, which is to be expected when it is the packer offering the terms.
“Our end-game is to arm free-range producers with a model contract which stands up to legal scrutiny. This can be used as a barometer for fairness when producers are offered contracts in the future.”
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Noble Foods launched golden yolk eggs as a premium addition to its range.