A new survey has revealed 78 per cent of UK shoppers who buy free range eggs are happy to pay a premium for them. And 69 per cent of over 55s – the age group which already buys the most free range eggs – would be willing to pay more.
The results are good news for free range egg farmers, who are concerned their products will drop in price because of announcements from a number of major retailers that they will no longer source eggs from enriched colony systems after 2025.
The survey also showed people who buy value eggs want to see free range eggs keep their higher price.
Myles Thomas, Love Free Range Eggs campaign ambassador and farmer, said: “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.
“Hens in enriched colony or barn systems do not go outside and their eggs are cheaper to produce.
“To take that premium away would be disastrous for free range egg producers.”
But despite agreeing free range eggs should be more expensive, shoppers were not keen to lose budget options. 64 per cent of those surveyed wanted eggs to be available at a variety of prices.
Mr Thomas called on retailers to give the laying hen sector more clarity about their future sourcing policy, saying the industry needs to know how to they plan to fill the gap left by colony production.
He added: “Whatever happens, consumers must not be misled. Putting a ‘cage-free’ label on a dozen eggs is not enough – 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.”