This Easter saw the biggest weekend rise in egg sales – aside from the chocolate variety – for more than 20 years, according to the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC).

Up to a quarter of a billion were consumed during Easter week and this was up by around 50m compared with the previous year.

Free-range egg sales reached their highest ever level as consumer spending beat sales of caged eggs over the holiday period.

With consumers turning to the low-cost protein source during the credit crunch, sales have been strong since the New Year.

Concerns linking eggs to high blood cholesterol levels and heart disease have been proven to be unfounded by health experts. This has also helped boost popularity.

BEIC, Andrew Parker, said: “After decades with the ‘cholesterol cloud’ hanging over us, we now have a clean bill of heath on all fronts and it’s great to see that consumers are once again recognising the value of eggs, both nutritionally and economically.”