A new egg production system from the Netherlands that is claimed to produce eggs to higher animal welfare standards than organic and free-range could soon be coming to the UK.

Rondeel eggs come in packs of seven and are produced in a compartmentalised circular building that contains a number of different areas designed to meet hens' welfare needs.

Eggs produced using the Rondeel system went into Albert Heijn the biggest food retailer in the Netherlands in June last year, and Rondeel is now hoping to break into the UK market, having held ­discussions with one UK supermarket chain.

Noble Foods also plans to visit the Netherlands to assess the system, although a spokesman ­emphasised it had no plans to adopt the system at present.

In the Netherlands, the eggs are sold at a price point somewhere between free-range and organic. In the UK, the eggs would be a likely competitor to the Happy Egg Co, the most successful high-welfare egg brand.

The NFU said that although the system was likely to be niche, there was potentially a place for it in UK retail. "It's an interesting concept you may well find the high-end supermarkets would be interested," said chief poultry advisor Kelly Watson.

The Rondeel system has been awarded three stars under the Dutch animal welfare organisation Dierenbescherming's Better Leven quality mark, which would usually be awarded to organic hen production systems. Wageningen University the leading agriculture research institute in the Netherlands has also awarded the Rondeel system a score of 9.6 for animal welfare, compared with 7.8 for organic farming, 6.8 for free-range systems and 6.3 for barn production.

'Night quarters' within the Rondeel system provide an area allowing hens to eat, sleep and lay while the 'day quarters' contain ­astroturf and provide space for hens to take dust baths. There is also a wooded area that can be closed off.