Union joins Glenrath and Tesco to discuss converting to barn eggs

NFU Scotland met with representatives from the Campbell family of Glenrath Farms and Tesco to discuss their conversion to a barn system.
calendar icon 22 May 2019
clock icon 3 minute read

NFU Scotland met with representatives from the Campbell family of Glenrath Farms and Tesco on Thursday 9 May at the farm’s Millennium site, near Peebles, where they are converting their existing colony production units into an impressive barn system.

Tesco made the commitment in 2016 to switch away from cage systems by 2025 and have been working closely with suppliers like the Campbell family, to identify how this can be achieved in a long-term, sustainable manner that is deliverable for their producers.

The switch from cage to alternate systems in egg production is a reaction to demands from consumers but the challenge from retailers is to deliver on their commitments whilst continuing to deliver a "value egg" product for their customers who continue to want this option.

Tesco see barn egg production as the way to fulfil their commitment to cage free and have been working closely with the Egg Industry, NFU Scotland, academics and welfare organisations, to develop new welfare standards for barn production that meet customer expectations of animal welfare whilst allowing producers to utilise existing assets from the recent large scale investment into colony units, to meet the ban on battery cages in 2012.

Following the meeting, NFU Scotland Pigs and Poultry Policy Manager Penny Middleton said: “We welcomed this opportunity to speak to Tesco about their plans to meet their cage free commitment and a number of other issues affecting the poultry sector. It is vital for producers to have confidence in the future of egg production and for this they need clear guidance from retailers and commitment to long term support for their investments.

“Movement away from existing colony production provides some real challenges for the future in meeting demand for eggs, with issues like planning permission, environmental requirements and land availability, restricting expansion into more free range, there needs to be more balance of priorities. We must look at ways to utilise the existing infrastructure and investments made by our producers and it is reassuring that Tesco are working closely with their suppliers, like the Campbells, and recognising the importance of long-term commitment for their investment.”

John Kirkpatrick, Agricultural Manager for Poultry & Eggs said: “We are working with our farming supply base and egg packers to continue to support them to produce healthy, affordable, sustainable eggs and deliver for our customers on a day to day basis.

“We’ve worked with our supply base via our TESCO Sustainable Farming Group for Eggs and key industry stakeholders including the Farming Unions to develop standards which will be fit for purpose, deliver demonstrable welfare outcomes and ultimately deliver to our customer expectations.”

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