UK - Key contributors to the success of the free range egg sector have been recognised by their peers for making a real difference in 2016.
The Free Range Awards were held at the British Free Range Egg Producers Association’s (BFREPA) annual conference in Birmingham.
The awards, sponsored by Elanco and attended by upwards of 500 people, highlight excellence from companies and individuals who make sustained, positive contributions to the sector.
Richard and Andy Higgins in Leicestershire won large producer of the year, praised by judges for their excellent performance and attention to detail to restrict costs and be super-efficient. Small producer of the year went to Paul and Shelly Traves in Lincolnshire for what judges described as “their absolute passion for their birds”. On their last flock the couple saw results of 340 eggs per bird and were also praised for their consistently excellent attention to detail around hen welfare.
Booths Supermarkets took home the retailer of the year prize, for broadening consumers’ choice by growing its free range egg category through listing and promoting organic eggs. As a result, sales increased by 30 per cent during the promotion and 11 per cent following the promotion.
Winning food business of the year was Farmlay Eggs in Scotland, praised for its use of innovation and technology and developing a strong relationship with Aldi. Chippindale Foods won marketing initiative of the year, for establishing nine successful British bumblebee habitats on Yorkshire farms, increasing bee friendly free range egg sales into Morrisons and the Co-op, and raising public awareness for the bumblebee population decline through extensive marketing and PR activity.
Breakthrough of the year was announced as HIPRA Evalon Coccidiosis Vaccine, launched in 2015 to provide lifetime immunity to coccidiosis, a disease of poultry, which can impact significantly upon the welfare of birds.
A special one-off free range champion award was given to Susie Macmillan, of The Macs Farm in East Sussex for her dedicated work on public engagement for the free range egg sector.
The lifetime achievement award went to David Hodson of Rosehill Agricultural Trading Company, who was inspirational in the development of vaccine auditing and at the forefront of the development of the first live Salmonella vaccine to be licensed in the UK in 2001. Judges believed that his “expertise in these areas undoubtedly helped to ease the catastrophic effects of poultry diseases to the industry, especially in the dark days of ND and IBD epidemics”.
James Baxter, chairman of BFREPA, said: “It’s with great pride that we are able to honour and thank the people who have put the free range sector where it is today. There’s a terrific amount of innovation and dedication to the free range industry, from the producers through the supply chain to the packers and retailers. It really was very difficult to choose the winners this year.”ThePoultrySite News Desk