Consumers are ditching organic and free-range eggs in favour of standard ones, in a further sign the ailing economy is taking its toll on ethical shopping.

According to the latest TNS figures, the organic share of the egg market fell from 6.9% in March to 4.7% in August and free-range dipped almost 3.5 percentage points to 56.5%. However, what free-range and organic sales have lost, the standard egg market has gained, with sales of standard eggs now accounting for 38.4% of the market, a rise of 3.5 percentage points from a February low, the month after Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver’s TV programmes aired the horrors of battery chicken farming.

The NFU’s chief poultry adviser Robert Newbery said it was ‘lucky’ standard egg producers had not converted en masse, as the demand for free-range and organic eggs clearly had not remained as high as had been expected.