Source: Bfrepa 

The discounter has said it will phase out caged egg sales by the end of 2024

Lidl GB has announced it will only sell RSPCA Assured shell eggs by the end of 2024 – as part of a move that will also see it end the sale of caged eggs and stock only free-range eggs.

The move – which Lidl said was the first by a discounter – “reinforced” its commitment to the welfare and conditions in which hens are housed, it claimed, and built on the retailer’s “existing pledge to work with suppliers to phase out the sale of eggs from caged hens in stores by 2025”.

Lidl’s commitment follows a similar shift by Morrisons and Sainsbury’s in 2020, while Waitrose, M&S and the Co-op already offer shoppers a 100% free-range proposition.

Total caged hen egg sales have fallen by 22.4% to £37.3m over the past year, with volumes dropping by 25.2% [Kantar 52 w/e 10 July 2022]. Caged eggs currently make up 24% of the total shell egg market in volume terms.

“We know that, in addition to the taste, the welfare and conditions in which hens are housed is important to our customers,” said Lidl GB chief trading officer Martin Kottbauer.

As the supermarket transitioned to selling only free-range eggs it said it was “working closely with its egg suppliers and has introduced longer-term contracts to help ensure they have security and certainty needed to invest for the future”.

It follows a turbulent period for egg producers, with the British Free Range Egg Producers Association reiterating warnings last week that the sector was not seeing enough of recent retail price hikes at the farmgate – leading to concerns many could go out of business within months, and warnings many retailers could be forced to source from abroad.

“Our commitment to selling 100% free-range eggs by the end of 2024 builds on our strong credentials as a grocer which sources sustainably and responsibly, offering the highest-quality produce at affordable prices,” Kottbauer added.

“Whilst our overall market share is currently 7.1%, we know 12% of all fresh shell eggs are bought through Lidl, and we therefore hope that this commitment will help create positive change across the industry.”

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