We asked the The Co-op for an interview and they agreed to give us the
lowdown on how they broke a few rules to improve welfare for laying
hens and how they can help us enjoy a welfare-friendly glass of wine at
Christmas. Here’s what they sent us:
You really can’t say enough good things about the humble egg. It’s packed
with goodness, is inexpensive, and a complete lifesaver when you’re pushed
for time and need to conjure up a quick meal for the family.
At The Co-operative, you can enjoy all these benefits with a clear conscience,
too. We’re the largest retailer to stock only British free range or organic eggs,
so you can be sure that our eggs come from happy hens. On top of this, we
use only free-range eggs in all our own-brand products.
In 1994, we worked alongside the RSPCA to help develop their Freedom Food
standard and we became the first national retailer to sell RSPCA accredited
Freedom Food products with the launch of our 'Freedom Food Free Range
eggs'. Now almost all of our own-brand eggs (98%) are accredited to the
RSPCA scheme, with the remainder being free range organic.
Following our support of RSPCA to bring in an accredited improved welfare
standard for laying hens, we felt that more needed to done to address the
issue. The following year, we became the first retailer to label eggs as
intensively produced", recognising the low welfare status of this production
method. This was a technically illegal step at the time but one that we felt was
in the consumer's interest.
The regulations changed in 2004, when it became compulsory to label the
production system that eggs had come from, making it a requirement to say
whether eggs came from caged hens, barns or free range farms.