mass market food

End of the sale of eggs from battery hens: The supermarket chains are waking up!

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Two thirds of the eggs sold in France and 80% of the hexagonal production come from laying hens living in battery cages where they are placed at the age of 18 weeks. Thus 46 million laying hens each lay around 300 eggs per year in undignified conditions. But awareness of the animal cause is changing mentalities and consumption patterns. Large retailers and the food industry have finally taken their share of the responsibility and are now massively choosing to abandon eggs in batteries in supermarkets.
Photo ©UP' magazine
 
Anear Carrefour, Aldi, Monoprix, it's the turn of Auchan to announce its objectives concerning the sale of its eggs: more than 50% of eggs from alternative farming methods today, 100% of "alternative" eggs on private labels in 2022, 100% of "alternative" eggs of all brands in 2025.
A victory for the ecologist association L214, which has been denouncing the cruelty of battery farming for several years, with the help of videos. For Brigitte Gothière, spokeswoman of the association, "A page is being turned. Large retailers and the agri-food industry have finally come to realise their responsibility towards the condition of animals and are now massively choosing to abandon battery eggs. We now have the certainty that the rearing of hens in cages is doomed to disappear. »
 
Auchan has been working for more than 30 years with its suppliers on the quality of its food offer to offer more and more healthy, safe food, from production methods that respect the environment and animal welfare. The company has played a pioneering role in limiting the use of eggs from caged hens. By developing over the last few years with its suppliers an offer of eggs from alternative production methods (outdoor, organic, red label) in its various retail formats (hypermarkets, supermarkets, ultra-proximity, drives, ecommerce).
Wishing to pursue and complete this in-depth work, which meets the growing expectations of consumers, Auchan Retail France has decided to make new commitments that will be progressively implemented as the sector evolves:
-By 2022, 100% of the eggs marketed under its private labels (Auchan brand, first price) will come from alternative farming methods;
-Between now and 2025, Auchan Retail France will support all its suppliers, taking into account the rate of adaptation of producers to these changes and the balance of the sector, in order to be able to offer 100% nationally branded eggs from alternative farming methods in all its retail formats.
To measure the progress that will be made until 2025, the company will measure the market share of alternative eggs on its shelves every year starting in 2017.
 
Since April 2016, Monoprix (Groupe Casino) has removed from its shelves eggs from battery hens, all brands combined. It was the first major retailer to become aware of the changes in French consumer behaviour.
 
In August 2016, it's the turn of the German hard-discount brand Aldi. to announce that it is giving itself nine years to get rid of battery eggs in its 5,000 stores in nine European countries, including France, which has 900. But battery eggs have already been removed from Aldi's shelves in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
 
The Carrefour Group announced in December that by 2025, it was also committed to no longer selling any eggs from caged hens in its stores and under its own brand in France by 2020. To this end, the retailer will offer its suppliers a minimum three-year contract for the creation of new organic or free-range farms or the conversion of farms currently using the cage system.
 
Interviewed by Agro-media.frAmélie Legrand, Food Affairs Manager for CIWF France, the leading international organisation dedicated to farm animal welfare, said : "It is obvious that other French brands and retailers will quickly follow these examples. In Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, all supermarkets have already banned eggs from caged hens from their shelves.
"2016 was an exceptional year for laying hens, with an unprecedented wave of commitments from companies to stop sourcing eggs from caged farms - proof of the impact of our work with companies and the growing importance of animal welfare to consumers". concludes the CIWF.
 
 
It's up to the breeding industry to get organized now! France, the leading egg producer in Europe, had in 2015 32 million caged laying hens compared to 2.7 million floor-raised animals and 6 million free-range laying hens. Between now and 2025, the sector will therefore have to reorganise itself and ask the major retailers for help to finance the transition. If this is not the case, the French sector, currently the leader in Europe, could collapse. Unless it reinvents itself to meet consumer demand. Indeed, a study of Opinion Way of September 2014 shows that 90 % of the population wish to ban battery farming of laying hens in favour of free-range farming and support a ban on the sale of battery eggs by supermarket chains.
 

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