Waitrose to end battery egg sales

Tuesday, 06 February, 2001

By FWi staff

WAITROSE has announced that it will no longer sell eggs produced by caged hens.

The retailer described its move as a positive stance for animal welfare, and claimed that caged hens were no longer acceptable to its customers.

“To provide our customers with what they want, at no extra cost, we will be selling Stonegate brand straw-bedded eggs for the same price as caged eggs.

“We will take a cut in margin in order to achieve this,” says a spokesperson.

However, John Farrant, editor of FARMERS WEEKLYs sister magazine Poultry World, believes the move is unlikely to increase the output of barn eggs.

“Supermarkets have been investigating this option for a while.

“But the problem is there arent enough barn eggs around, and not enough demand at the prices they require,” he says.

“Only 4% of total egg output is from barn eggs, and there has been no growth in barn egg production for several years.

“They cost more to produce so, unless there is sufficient demand and the farmer achieves a realistic price, nothing will change.”

Safeway has considered such a move in the past, but will not be pursuing it further.

“After extensive research, we found that it was not something our customers wanted,” says a spokesperson.

“They wanted to have a choice.

“Safeway has taken moves to reduce exposure of cage eggs on shelves, but demand for cage eggs is still three times that of barn eggs.”

Cage eggs will continue to dominate the market for many more years, reckons Mr Farrant.

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