Foodstuffs announced today that following an extensive review of its egg sourcing and animal welfare policies the business has committed to a goal of being 100% cage-free for eggs within 10 years.
“We are committed to working with our suppliers toward our goal to be 100% cage-free for packaged eggs by the end of 2027,” said Steve Anderson, Managing Director, Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd.
Foodstuffs will increase customer communications around barn raised and free range eggs. The merchandising teams will gradually reduce the range of caged eggs on offer, and undertake a promotional programme supporting the transition of the business to cage-free over the next few years.
“Foodstuffs has been proactive for many years in responding to increased customer demand for free-range and barn raised eggs. Our Pams eggs have been cage free since 2008, and sales of other free range and barn raised eggs have grown significantly over the last decade,” says Anderson. “Now we are ready to take the next step – but we need to work closely with the industry to make this happen.
“Our customers’ expectations drive us every day to offer products and services which meet a wide variety of needs including availability, quality, food safety, provenance and animal welfare, which is why we needed to take the time to review the business before announcing our position,” adds Anderson. “Ensuring the correct balance could be achieved both environmentally, and in terms of our egg producers’ ability to supply, realise the cost of their investment and manage the retail cost to customers was critical”.
The review confirmed that the industry needs Foodstuffs to take a clear position on what types of eggs it will need for its future customers so they can plan and prepare. The need for realistic timelines was also identified – many suppliers will need to change the way they currently farm.
Many suppliers have invested heavily in the colony style of farming. Foodstuffs believe farmers need to recoup the costs of these investments to allow them to invest further in cage-free eggs.
Some suppliers will need to build different types of infrastructure. “Giving the industry time to achieve this is important as this will ensure our customers’ needs can be met,” said Anderson. “Eggs are a healthy essential on most households’ shopping list, so we need to ensure that we keep that egg-tray in the fridge well-stocked.”
“On balance we believe 10 years is a reasonable timeframe to enable producers to realise their investment and be able to reinvest in alternative farming infrastructure. If this can be achieved, then the industry will have a much better chance of being able to meet the increasing demand from shoppers, which is seeing egg consumption increase by over 4% year on year.”
“Ensuring there is a strong, growing egg industry in New Zealand is important to Foodstuffs. It means we will be able to give our customers surety around the quality and price of eggs into the future.”