17 Aug 2016

Supermarket launches free range egg programme

7:13 am on 17 August 2016

A new programme to support free range and barn eggs has been launched at Countdown supermarkets after a call for it to go completely free range.

Eggs

Photo: 123rf

Last month SAFE called for Countdown to go completely free-range after its competitor, Woolworths Australia, decided to stop selling caged eggs in by 2018.

The industry is phasing out battery cage eggs by 2022, but new controversial colony battery cages, which are slightly larger, will be allowed.

Countdown has launched an Egg Producer Programme and merchandise manager Nikhil Sawant said it would mean the supermarket could commit to long term supply agreements with free range and barn egg farmers.

Mr Sawant said it was a good step forward.

"It's a lot of investment in free range and barn eggs and I think the farmers deserve that support which has been lacking in the past."

He said the programme would not fix the expected shortage of eggs in 2022, but was a move in the right direction.

"We definitely see once the colony cages come into play, the number of eggs available from that segment is going to diminish, so we're just thinking about how do we get other alternative options, like free range and barn eggs, supply up and try and satisfy our customers.

"It's important that we start working on the future now rather than running around last minute to try and find every egg available in the market."

Mr Sawant said farmers would have to share investment plans and animal welfare information with Countdown in order to join the programme.

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