From:Mardirossian Armineh [mailto:AMardirossian@woolworths.com.au]
Sent:Monday, 4 February 2013 3:07 PM
Subject:Woolworths' Free Range Eggs
Thank you for writing to us with your concerns about free range eggs. Some of you have engaged in further conversation with me on this matter and in the course of the correspondence it has become evident that there is a lot of confusion on the issue of hen stocking density for free range eggs. Subsequently we have made a decision to provide further information on-pack to help our customers with their purchasing choices.
As explained in my previous email, Woolworths own brand eggs comply with the requirements of the Model Code of Practice for Welfare of Animals: Domestic Poultry (the Code) for each production system and the products are labelled accordingly. However, the stocking density for free range eggs stated in the Code does leave room for interpretation of the acceptable maximum density which has led to confusion for both industry and consumers.
The views on maximum density vary between animal welfare advocacy groups and producers. While we don’t believe the decision on maximum stocking density is in our area of expertise, we take our responsibility on clear labelling very seriously and always endeavour to provide our customers with clear information to help them make the choices that are important to them.
To help reduce the confusion for our customers, Woolworths will move to:
- label stocking densities on-pack for our own brand free range eggs sold under Macro and Select brands;
- colour code own brand packs according to production system, and
- display and label on-shelf by production system separating caged, barn laid and free range.
While we cannot dictate these measures to other brands, we will encourage all brands supplying free range eggs in our stores move to clearly label their stocking density.
More and more customers are choosing free range eggs and the sales are increasing year on year. Last year we saw a 20% increase in free range egg sales. However, caged eggs are still an affordable option for a lot of our customers and constitute 55% of all egg sales. Products on our shelves reflect our customers’ shopping preferences. We have millions of customers with diverse range of values and brand preferences and have a responsibility to meet the expectations of all our customers. We respect the choices made by all our customers.
Head of Corporate Responsibility
Community & Sustainability