Waitrose is changing the way it packs its eggs in a move it says will provide up to half a million additional eggs on to its shelves every year.
Traditionally, egg sizing is regulated by weight bands and the majority of retailers sell mainly medium or large eggs, with farmers having to send smaller eggs that don’t make the grade to the catering industry. But by introducing new mixed weight packs, Waitrose will now be able to use a mix of small, medium and large eggs, making better use of every egg produced in its supply chain and boosting availability even further.
Waitrose said this was especially good news for customers, with the COVID pandemic having created availability challenges for many retailers. However, thanks to Waitrose’s dedicated network of free range egg producers, the supermarket has managed to keep up with demand – having sold over 100m eggs in the last five months. This is equivalent to 20 Christmases, which is commonly the period which sees the biggest demand spikes for eggs.
Beyond availability, there is an added cost benefit to Waitrose customers too. Previously classified as “medium” eggs, the new minimum net weight boxes will initially come in packs of 12 and priced at £2.50 – 20 pence cheaper than their predecessors.
Nick Coleman, Egg Buyer at Waitrose, said: “We have a history of pioneering standards in the egg industry and we continue to work with our egg supplier Stonegate to find solutions to give greater value to our farmers and customers. This new model will boost availability of our British free range eggs even further and at a more affordable price, which is good for the industry and good for our customers.”
Waitrose was the first supermarket to commit to only selling free range eggs across its own label range, which it has continued to do since 2006, with all eggs used as an ingredient within a Waitrose product having been free range or organic since 2008. It was also the first supermarket to refuse to sell fresh eggs laid by hens kept in cages in 2001 – more than a decade ahead of the 2012 EU ban on battery cages.
The eggs come in a rye grass box that is fully compostable, with Waitrose the only retailer in the UK to use it.