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Sainsbury's Goes the Egg-stra Mile for Happy Hens

by 5m Editor
13 February 2012, at 9:06am

UK - In a first for a major supermarket, eggs used as ingredients in all of Sainsbury's own-brand foods now come from cage-free hens. From the basics range to the premium Taste the Difference lines, all products containing eggs are now cage-free, a move affecting 1,600 products, three million hens and an amazing 800 million eggs.

The move to ban caged eggs throughout the retailer's entire product ranges is supported by the RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming, Freedom Food and the NFU.

Sainsbury's is now the number one retailer for barn, free range and organic eggs and since 2009 has sold over 1.3 billion cage-free packaged whole eggs - from basics to free-range Woodland Eggs.

Director of Sainsbury's Brand Judith Batchelar, said: "We've now banned the use of eggs from caged hens from all of our own brand products - not only fresh eggs, but also as ingredients. This means that whether customers are buying cakes, sandwiches, ready meals, salad dressings or fresh pasta, they can rest assured they're not compromising their ethics when purchasing outside the egg aisle."

In 2009, Sainsbury's stopped selling eggs from caged hens - before any other major retailer and a year ahead of the original 2010 target. All of Sainsbury's own label barn, free range and organic eggs are sourced from UK Woodland farms, specially selected for their commitment to raising hens in a more natural environment. This announcement marks the supermarket's latest commitment to responsible egg sourcing and hits one of the targets set out in the 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan to source all eggs used as ingredients from suppliers that are committed to higher welfare standards.

Sainsbury's now has 80 per cent of the barn egg market which means that even the basic eggs are from hens that live in a barn with space to move around and display natural behaviour.

Alice Clarke, senior scientist from the RSPCA's farm animals department said: "We are delighted by Sainsbury’s move to sell only cage-free eggs on such a large-scale. We are continuing to campaign to put an end to cage-eggs as we work hard to improve the conditions in which all laying hens are reared in the UK. Hens are inquisitive animals and it is important they are kept in conditions which allow them to exhibit natural behaviours. We hope that Sainsbury's latest move pushes other retailers to enforce similar commitments and raise industry standards further."

Katy Read, Head of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming said: "We've previously recognised Sainsbury's for using only cage-free eggs with a Good Egg award and this latest achievement demonstrates their strong commitment to improving farm animal welfare."

As well as cage-free barn eggs, Sainsbury's continues to work in partnership with the Woodland Trust to promote tree-planting and higher-welfare Woodland eggs, produced by chickens who are free to roam natural woodland. Of every dozen Sainsbury's Woodland Eggs sold, 1p is donated to the Woodland Trust and since this partnership started in 2004 Sainsbury's has raised £1.4m, helping plant 825,000 trees in local schools, on farms and in local communities.