UK - After supermarket chain Tesco announced its intention to transition to cage-free eggs by 2025, the National Farmers Union (NFU) said it understands Tesco is likely to use barn production as the alternative to colony cage.
Some 57 per cent of eggs sold by Tesco in the UK come from free Range or organic methods, but barn production can be seen as an alternative for the lower-priced end of the egg market.
NFU poultry chairman Duncan Priestner said: “We understand from various meetings we have had with Tesco that this is a reaction to changing customer demand and farmers are keen to produce food accordingly.
“Although concerning for colony British cage egg producers, who adhere to high welfare standards, we appreciate that Tesco is working with producers to ensure that they are not negatively impacted by the move.
"We are however concerned about the wider impact this will have on the sector and will continue to hold talks with the supply chain. Poultry farmers invested £400million in the transition to enriched cages for laying hens in 2012.
“We understand from meeting with Tesco that barn is likely to be the alternative to colony cage. If it is barn then we would seek assurance on behalf of our members that we do not see an exit from that system of production only a few years down the line after significant investment on behalf of our members. We are keen that recent investment and UK producers’ continuing dedication to animal welfare are not overlooked.”