According to several media reports, Sainsbury’s has decided it will no longer sell barn eggs from 2020, a decision the retailer has refused to comment on. The issue emerged when a barn egg producer from County Armagh, Paul Conway, said he had been told by Skea Eggs that Sainsbury’s would stop taking barn eggs and the packer had no alternative market for them.
Sainsbury’s has declined to directly confirm or deny its position, citing “commercial reasons”.
The reports have come as the egg industry is working to decide how to move away from enriched cages, which all major retailers have decided to delist from 2025.
Many egg producers are planning to move into barn production and both the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) and the British Free Range Producers Association (BFREPA) say its important for retailers to stock a value tier so that the price of free-range doesn’t continue to be devalued.
Tesco is planning to offer barn eggs as a value product and is working with Noble Foods on developing a new standard for barn production. Other egg producers are developing alternative ideas.
BFREPA said it was seeking clarification from the Sainsbury’s agriculture team on its long-term strategy regarding barn eggs.
Chief executive Robert Gooch said: “BFREPA is in contact with Sainsbury’s to establish what its future policy will be on stocking barn eggs.
“Our view is when retailers and food service companies deliver their cage-free pledges there must be a value egg available on the shelf.
“Our hope and expectation is that barn production will fill that demand.
“It would be disappointing for any retailer to decide against stocking barn eggs to give consumers choice at a variety of price points.
“My members are already experiencing significant price pressure and can ill-afford for their product to become the budget option.”