Waitrose egg-cellent!

Waitrose is the only major UK supermarket to sell nothing but free range eggs in boxed form and as ingredients in their own brand products including their essential range. No barn eggs, no caged eggs, no exceptions. Whether you pick up Waitrose sponge cake, croissants, custard, fresh pasta, sauces etc read the label, they all contain free range eggs. (*note this only applies to Waitrose own brand, they do stock other brands that don’t use free range eggs).

e.g. ‘essential Waitrose fresh pasta spaghetti: Durum wheat semolina, pasteurised free range egg (15%), water’


Concerned that Waitrose is more expensive? A quick cost comparison:

  1. Fresh egg fusilli pasta. Waitrose = £3.20, Sainsbury = £3.20, Tesco = £3.75 (based on per kg)
  2. Frozen all butter croissants. Waitrose = £6.70, Sainsbury = £7.50, Tesco = £6.70 (based on per kg)

You will see a lot more posts referencing Waitrose, as they lead the way in terms of ethical choices for supermarket shoppers. They introduce their policies way before public pressure and focus is on these topics

If you want to review other supermarkets have a quick look on their websites. They all publish ingredients lists, search for the product and scroll down to the ingredients, you will find products that contain free range egg but it is not across the board. Remember if is doesn’t say free range it isn’t.

Waitrose that is a big thumbs up for me and the girls (hens), Egg-cellent work!

The EOr

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Chicken training

Chickens are highly intelligent. This video might look like chickens that I have trained to jump for cheese but actually it is chickens training me how to feed them cheese faster. They love cheese, organic cheese of course! check this out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh6t98PRNFc

All of the girls that live here learn very quickly that there is cheese in the fridge and any chance they get, they are straight in via the back door and queuing up at the fridge. They also know how to tap on the door to get our attention. They know when guests arrive and are straight out to check their supplies.

Why I am sharing this silly video? The concept of caging these birds is inconceivable and unnecessary, which is why caged hen eggs is our focus for January. Are you the checking labels on any food products that may contain eggs – if they don’t say free range, they are from caged hens. Eating out, ask if their eggs are free range.

Cluck cluck!

The photo is two chicks are were given from a school hatching project. They decided the washing machine was a great place to roost.

The ethical omnivore

 

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EGGS – caged hen eggs

Regardless of the images on a box, always read the smaller print. Clever marketing and branding, bright colourful packaging has misled many shoppers into believing that ‘Big and fresh’ is a good choice. Beware the eggs are from caged hens, read the small print. It is a brand from Noble foods (in total process 4 million eggs a day). The brand is sold at Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and One Stop.

Unsurprisingly there is nothing about hen welfare on the website http://www.bigandfresh.co.uk when there is nothing good to say… the link Supersize fun is ironic, it is no fun for the hens.

Noble also owns the luxury brand ‘Gu deserts‘ who confirm they don’t use free range eggs. 

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Free range eggs – Consumer pressure works

Our focus for January is free range eggs, boxed and as ingredients.

It is amazing how such a small thing can make sure a huge difference. Hellman’s using about 331 million eggs annually. Chickens lay around 1 egg per day, therefore this has changed the lives of around 331 million chickens a year. Remember check all labels if it doesn’t say free range it isn’t. See what you find and add info via comments.

In a groundbreaking move, Hellmann’s UK and now USA have gone free-range on all mayonnaise.

Responding to growing media attention and consumer concern for chickens, a Hellmann’s spokesperson said: “By July 2008, all Hellmann’s Mayonnaise on the supermarket shelves will have been made using free-range eggs.

“Hellmann’s UK has proactively chosen to make this change and work started on this project back in 2006. It has taken some time because it was important that Hellmann’s could ensure continuity of supply when dealing with such large volumes. Increased production of free-range eggs has now enabled Hellmann’s to move supply.”

Compassion in World Farming Food Business Manager, Rowen West-Henzell, said: “We are delighted by this move, which demonstrates that Hellmann’s is serious about farm animal welfare. Its decision will help nearly two hundred thousand laying hens out of cages every year.

“Not only that, Hellmann’s UK is showing tremendous leadership in an area that often goes unnoticed – egg product. Many consumers buy free-range whole eggs but forget to do the same with other products that contain egg, like cakes and mayonnaise. By going completely free-range in the UK, Hellmann’s is really helping British consumers make clear ethical choices.”

The announcement came after sustained media attention on the welfare of chickens in food production. Compassion in World Farming has met with Hellmann’s previously in relation to their sourcing policies and will continue our dialogue with their team. The move won Hellmann’s UK a Good Egg Award, which they are celebrating in a major advertising campaign across the UK – sample poster above.

If you want to help hens remember to buy free-range egg products as well as free-range shell eggs. Look out for free-range cakes, biscuits and, of course, mayonnaise.

And since 2017 – Hellman’s Mayonnaise is now made with 100 percent cage-free eggs in the United States, Hellman’s parent company Unilever announced Monday. The announcement was made a full three years ahead of schedule, after Hellman’s pledged in 2010 to be cage-free by 2020.

“They are one of the largest egg buyers to reach the point of exclusively using cage-free eggs, and they were also one of the first companies to announce that they were going to do it,” says Josh Balk, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection for The Humane Society of the United States. “I think that maybe at this point, in terms of the very large, national brands, it might be solely Unilever and Whole Foods.”

“Hellmann’s and Unilever have proven yet again that doing well goes hand-in-hand with doing good,” said Matthew Prescott, Senior Food Policy Director for The Humane Society of the United States, in a press release. “People want animal welfare assurances when it comes to the food they buy, and Hellmann’s move shows just how in synch the company is with its customers.”

According to Russel Lilly, Marketing Director at Hellman’s, the company had to completely rebuild its supply chain to achieve this goal, which was facilitated by the market shift that occurred in the U.S. after an increased demand for cage-free eggs, particularly amongst large egg buyers.

Hellman’s original pledge was made when only two percent of egg-laying hens in the United States were cage-free. Today, that number has reached about ten percent.

“We are moving fast,” says Balk. “If you look at the trajectory, by 2025 in the United States, it’s likely going to be very difficult to find an egg from a caged chicken anywhere in the country.”

The speed at which Hellman’s was able to achieve this goal is, Balk says, a testament to Unilever’s commitment to animal welfare.

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You are still buying caged eggs

Who is still buying them? Well it turns out all of us are. Whether you pick up boxes of free range eggs or not the chances are you are still buying caged eggs in some form. 51%* of eggs produced in the UK in 2015 come from hens kept in cages. That is around 5 billion eggs per year or 13.5 million eggs per day, this is still a huge issue!

I thought I was hen friendly in my shopping I wasn’t! Doh it now seems so obvious – it is eggs in products, biscuits, pasta, cakes, mayonnaise, pastry, croissants, you name it. Whilst whole egg box labelling says ‘From caged hens’, produce doesn’t.

Have a look through you cupboards, read the labels – if it doesn’t say Free range egg or free range yolk on the label it has come from some poor little hen sat in a metal cage for the whole of their life to roll out just 1 egg per day. We are better than this?

Eating out and fast food is also a problem, they mainly serve caged hen eggs, even when they are charging you an arm and a leg! Some do mark free range on the menu, but most don’t because they aren’t. Ask them and if it is not free range don’t buy it, don’t eat it.

Decades of campaigning and most of us believe that hens are no longer kept in cages. Yes some minute progress has been made, barren cages have been replaced by ‘enriched’ cages (never has such a misuse of the english language been experienced) according to CIWF this offers no meaningful benefits to the hen. Hey decide for yourself – hmm yes it is still shit! Vegetarian or omnivore this is one of the biggest areas of animal welfare we must address.

What you can do? Buy free range eggs. Ideally Organic. Check labels of all products you buy, ask in restaurants, let people know you expect to eat free range eggs. There are companies already making a stand and they deserve our support see:

http://www.compassioninfoodbusiness.com/award-winnersoverall-shot-4

Hens spend their wholes lives in these cages. Once their egg laying rate drops off around 72 weeks they go for slaughter.

* https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/543489/eggs-statsnotice-04aug2016.pdf

 

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