Clear product labeling will be crucial as more retailers announce that they will stop selling eggs from enriched colony cage systems, the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) says.
Aldi, Tesco, Iceland, Morrisons and food service company Sodexo have all pledged to phase out sourcing caged eggs by 2025.
Barn egg production, which has no cages but sees birds housed permanently, is likely to fill the gap left by reduced demand for caged eggs, according to BFREPA.
Many shoppers already choose to buy free-range eggs but BFREPA CEO Robert Gooch said that it must be clear to shoppers what they are buying.
“Labeling a dozen eggs as ‘cage free’ is not good enough because many shoppers will assume that means free-range,” Gooch said.
“A great deal of thought needs to go in to how these eggs are marketed to the public in a way that accurately reflects how they have been produced.”
Keep free-range eggs affordable
Gooch added that it was important that eggs remain affordable.
“Free range eggs have always attracted a small premium which reflects the additional production costs involved, but not everyone can afford to pay that price. Eggs should be available to everyone and it is down to shoppers to make a decision on which production system they prefer,” said Gooch.
“We recognize that the announcement from these major retailers and food service companies reflects the desire from the British public to move away from caged systems and we will be working hard to ensure that the interests of free range producers and consumers are not compromised.”