There probably aren’t many places you can go without stumbling across a JD Wetherspoon pub these days, which is good news for hens as the restaurant chain uses purely free range eggs in its restaurants. We caught up with James Robinson, Wetherspoon Head of Food Development, to find out a bit more about company policy on welfare.
1. When did Wetherspoon make the switch to free range, and what prompted this policy?
Back in 2007. We felt it was the ‘right thing to do’. We were selling lots of eggs, mainly in breakfasts, and figured we could make a difference.
2. Your website states “we only use free range eggs” – can you go into a bit more detail about your egg policy and where you source them from?
Yes of course, we source them from RSPCA approved egg producers, all free range, Lion quality and British origin.
3. Do you think animal welfare is important to your customers? What reaction did you get when you made the switch to free range?
We had lots of positive feedback from our customers and we try to listen to what they are telling us.
4. Roughly how many free range eggs does Wetherspoon use across its UK branches in a year and how do you manage to use free range eggs yet remain competitive?
We will serve over 45 million free range eggs this year, and there are efficiencies in the way we distribute the eggs to our pubs and we can therefore pass these efficiencies on to our customers with our breakfast prices.
5. What do you make of the recent supermarket pledges to only sell cage-free eggs?
It is encouraging and definitely a great move! Although I would say that it seems like a long time to make the switch. We made the decision in a meeting and within a couple of months all of our eggs were free range.
6. What is the most popular eggy dish on the Wetherspoon menu?
The traditional breakfast – it is a British classic and our best-selling meal of all, not just at breakfast.
7. We notice you like to mix up your menu quite often – what can we look forward to from Wetherspoon over the coming months?
I could tell you but I would have to kill you! It’s a highly competitive market out there and you never know who is reading this! So, I would say the same as I say to my mother – you’ll have to go into one of our pubs and see on menu launch day!
8. What do you think of the British Hen Welfare Trust’s efforts to encourage people to only eat free range eggs?
This is a great initiative and I applaud the work of the Trust.
9. It would be great to know a bit more about you personally – what is your favourite egg dish to eat at home?
I love to make a classic eggs benedict, at home, now and then. Although it’s far easier to nip into one of our pubs to enjoy this dish!
10. Do you currently have hens and, if not, is it something you would consider?
I would need to speak to my landlord (and neighbours) about that!