The popularity of free range eggs is on the increase, and likely thanks to the work of campaign groups and TV programmes promoting better welfare for, and increasing awareness of the conditions chickens live in used in producing both standard meat and caged eggs. Free range egg sales increased by 8.4% last year with sales set to hit £2bn this year, and with sales of eggs from caged hens falling by 3.3%, this can only be a step in the right direction for UK chickens and British egg production.
A London award ceremony held by Compassion in World Farming on Thursday evening (14th May) saw a number of UK companies presented with ‘Good Egg’ awards for their contribution to ending the use of eggs from caged birds. Over the past year, Fox’s biscuits, Little Chef, Walkers Shortbread and Virgin Trains. Penelope Keith, who presented some of the awards to the winners commented,
“I congratulate all the companies that are going cage-free on their eggs and hope consumers will, too. A cage-free egg costs just a couple of pennies more and it saves hens a life of misery.”
Battery eggs from caged hens will be a thing of the past from 2012 when a ban on caged egg production is due to be implemented. With many supermarkets also joining in to support free range, the demand for free range will only increase. Sainsbury’s is the latest supermarket to stop selling eggs from caged hens, adding their name to the list along with Marks and Spencer and Waitrose, and Morrisons are due to do the same next year. We just need the other giants, Tesco and Asda to join the ranks, and the fate of caged eggs should be sealed. Chief Executive at Compassion in World Farming, Philip Lymbery, commented about the increasing support for free range,
“Our spread of winners this year really demonstrates that the European food industry is taking this issue seriously. We’ve got companies from all sectors making a move to cage-free eggs, including the catering operations of public bodies, hospitals and universities. They are clearly responding to what they think consumers want and are doing what’s best for the future of their business.”