A survey of consumers to mark the start of British Egg Week has found most are happy to pay a premium for free-range eggs on supermarket shelves.
Some 78% of shoppers who regularly bought free-range eggs agreed a premium should be paid. Most shoppers who bought value eggs also agreed free range should carry a premium.
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It comes at a time of major disruption for the UK egg market, with the retailers that still sell eggs produced by caged hens committing to move completely to barn or free range by 2025.
The British Free Range Egg Producers, which commissioned the survey, is worried that the premium currently enjoyed by its farmers may be eroded without a value offering.
Its chairman, Myles Thomas, said the premium reflected the increased cost of running a farm that gives hens access to the outdoors.
“Hens in enriched colony 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.
“The results of this survey show that the public agrees with us and it is a clear indication that retailers need to offer British eggs at a variety of price points.”
- 78% of UK shoppers who buy free range are happy to pay a premium
- A third of 18- to 24-year-olds surveyed said they did not buy free range
- Some 87% of shoppers over 55 years old said they bought free range
OnePoll surveyed 1,000 UK adults over 5-6 October 2016
Mr Thomas also warned of labelling barn eggs as “cage free”, explaining that consumers could mistake them for 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,” he said.
Promotional information and recipes for free-range egg farmers and consumers alike can be found at www.lovefreerange.co.uk