Major low-cost supermarket Aldi is to start phasing out the sale of shell egg from caged hens in its UK stores.
The supermarket told Poultry World that it was responding to customer concerns and from 2025 would begin phasing out the sale of caged eggs.
The move comes at a time of growing pressure on retailers both in the UK and across the world to stop selling caged eggs. Tesco recently said it was reviewing its future direction on caged eggs. It has been under pressure after the promotion of a petition from 14-year-old Sheffield schoolgirl Lucy Gavaghan, which garnered 270,000 signatures.
Oliver King, Aldi UK corporate managing director, said: “Aldi currently provides customers with a range of shell eggs, all of which are sourced from the UK and certified to meet British Lion Standards.
“We know that animal welfare is an important consideration for our customers and we are committed to continuously improving sourcing practices across our supply chain.
“As a result, we have committed that from 2025 we will begin phasing out the sale of shell eggs from caged hens in our UK stores.
“Meaningful commitments such as these can take time to plan and implement. The timeframe ensures that we can continue to work collaboratively with suppliers to minimise the impact on their business.”
At present about 57% of eggs sold are free range with the price of six large Scottish free-range eggs 24p more expensive (89p) than for an equivalent box of eggs from caged hens (65p).
The supermarket, which was founded in Germany in 1913 and has 10,000 stores in 18 countries, announced earlier this week that it is to stop selling caged eggs in Australia by 2025.
The move followed a massive consumer campaign, led by animal rights group Animals Australia, which had urged Aldi to follow other industry multiples Coles and Woolworths to stock only free-range eggs.
It was backed by a major digital marketing drive on Aldi’s Facebook page, with people insisting that caged eggs should be withdrawn from sale immediately.
The supermarket said in a statement: “Aldi believes the best outcome will be achieved when the transition is done co-operatively and collaboratively with the industry, customers and relevant parties.”