Supermarket giant Morrisons has ditched battery farmed eggs in an effort to improve animal welfare.
The move makes Morrisons the only major supermarket to sell free range eggs exclusively.
The chain originally committed to selling only free range eggs by 2025, and then by 2022, after bowing to a consumer campaign led by teenager Lucy Gavaghan in 2016.
But the company has managed to make the transition five years earlier than initially planned, after it doubled the number of free range farmers supplying its stores.
‘Outdoor access for at least eight hours each day’
Robert Hofmann, Morrisons Egg Buyer, said, “Improving animal welfare is very important to customers and it’s very important to us. We source our eggs directly from farms and have worked hard to help them all move to free range.
“From today, all our eggs will come from free-range hens that are able to roam freely outdoors – typically during daylight hours - and then return to nest boxes in the evening.”
The commitment will mean all the company’s eggs will come from hens that have:
Outdoor access for at least eight hours each dayNest boxes with wide perchesSpaces for scratching and dust bathing.
In the last year, Morrisons sold 107 million eggs from caged hens. According to the company’s figures, it will need to find around 334,000 free range hens to lay enough to keep up with that demand in the year ahead.
‘Great to see’
Dr Tracey Jones, Director of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming, said, “It’s great to see Morrisons achieving their commitment to be 100% free range on shell eggs ahead of their 2022 target.
“Momentum on ending the use of cages for laying hens is growing and Morrisons are leading the way. Importantly, they also have a 2025 cage-free commitment on the eggs that go into processed and ingredient foods.”
Bosses at Morrisons say the company is aiming to have 100 per cent of the eggs used as ingredients in its products be free range by 2025.
The chain is also lowering the price of a pack of six free range eggs from 80p to 75p to make them even more affordable.