A new survey of UK shoppers has shown that 78% of those who buy free range eggs are happy to pay a premium for them.
In addition, even those who usually buy a value egg agree that the free range option should be priced higher than eggs produced by birds which don’t go outside.
These findings, released by the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA), were drawn from a OnePoll survey, timed to coincide with British Egg Week 2016, which runs until October 17.
With several major retailers and food service companies recently announcing they will be phasing out sourcing eggs from enriched colony systems by 2025, BFREPA used the survey results to comment that the planned change in sourcing policy must not lead to their members’ products being downgraded to a budget option.
“Free range eggs have traditionally enjoyed a small premium which reflects the increased cost of running a unit that permits the birds space to range outside,” said Love Free Range Eggs campaign ambassador and farmer, Myles Thomas.
“To take that premium away would be disastrous for free range egg producers and the results of the survey shows that the public agrees with us. This is a clear indication that retailers need to offer British eggs at a variety of price points.”
Mr Thomas also called on retailers to engage with the laying hen sector to set out their future sourcing policy.
“We need the retailers to tell the industry how they plan to fill the gap that’s going to be left by phasing out sourcing from colony production,” he said. “Whatever happens, consumers must not be misled.
“Putting a ‘cage-free’ label on a dozen eggs is not enough as consumers will assume that means the product is 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.”