For the first time ever, demand for free-range eggs in the United Kingdom has surpassed that of eggs from caged hens on a value basis. On a volume basis, however, eggs from caged hens still have the edge.

The study by the Soil Association also found that total organic food and drink sales hit the 2 billion pound mark in 2006, up 22 percent throughout the year. One official said that it is possible welfare issues are clearer for egg consumers than most other foods.

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The U.K. is third in sales within Europe of organic food, behind Germany and Italy.