Farmfoods eggs

Protesters gather outside a Farmfoods store in Edinburgh earlier this month

Farmfoods has fallen into line with the UK’s major supermarket chains by committing to stop sourcing eggs from caged hens by 2025.

The discounter faced protests by animal welfare group The Humane League earlier this month at stores in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen over its egg sourcing policy, leading some shoppers to turn away or state they would never buy eggs from Farmfoods again, claimed the NGO.

It had also been subjected to complaints by email and phone, said Humane League UK corporate campaigns co-ordinator Pru Elliott, while an online petition calling for it to change its egg sourcing practices has attracted more than 10,000 signatures.

Farmfoods said on Friday (11 November) it had been “working with our suppliers to review our egg sourcing policy”, and as a result, had decided to stop sourcing eggs from caged hens in enriched colonies by 2025.

“Furthermore, we will be taking immediate steps to broaden our range of eggs available to our customers,” it said in a statement.

The announcement was welcomed by The Humane League’s Elliott. “Farmfoods’ new policy is an important step in reducing the suffering of farm animals,” she said. “We believe that in the near future every major European company will make the same commitment to phase out cages.”

Farmfoods’ commitment follows similar cage-free pledges by Asda, Aldi, Morrisons, Tesco, Iceland and Lidl this year. Sainsbury’s, the Co-op, M&S and Waitrose have already made similar commitments.

The shift in egg sourcing policy has been generally welcomed by consumers. However, some egg producers have warned of spiralling costs as they switch to other production methods, with some cautioning producers were still paying off investments for the last structural change to the sector, when battery hen cages were banned in 2012.