29-01-2014 16:14 PM | News

Famous faces line up to support British Eggs



Michelle Keegan
Michelle Keegan
A collection of famous faces will be helping to promote eggs in one way or another over the coming year, with both the British Free Range Egg Producers' Association (BFREPA) and the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) banking on celebrity status.

Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan, who plays Tina McIntyre in the long-running soap, is the latest name to be recruited by British Lion to boost its marketing campaign. “Michelle is a big star with a huge following and luckily for us she’s also a big fan of eggs," said BEIC chairman Andrew Joret. "We couldn’t be more delighted that she has agreed to work with us. I’m certain that she will help to reinforce the benefits of eating eggs with current consumers and encourage new consumers to start including eggs in their diet,” said Andrew, who had previously announced that television chef Dean Edwards would be helping to promote the Lion and, in turn, increase egg consumption.

Dean, from daytime television, is fronting a renewed drive by British Lion eggs to encourage consumers to make eggs a central part of their diet in 2014. Dean, who regularly appears on the ITV show 'Lorraine,' has developed a new collection of quick ‘Main Meals in Minutes’ recipes for BEIC. This comes after BFREPA persuaded a long list of well known chefs to donate recipes to promote the use of British free range eggs.

Amongst those to have provided BFREPA with free range egg recipes are kitchen goddess Delia Smith, Antony Worrall Thompson and Clarissa Dickson Wright - one half of television's Two Fat Ladies. Others who have donated recipes include Jo Pratt, Rosemary Shrager, Lesley Waters, Jimmy Doherty, Thomasina Miers, Russell Brown, Eric Lanlard, Valentine Warner and Levi Roots. All the recipes are available on a new web site, Love Free Range Eggs, which has been created by Keith Wild as part of a promotional campaign devised by the association to boost sales of free range eggs still further.

At the Egg and Poultry Industry Conference in November, Ed Garner, communications director of the retail data analysts Kantar Wold Panel, said that consumers had shown their willingness to continue buying free range eggs despite the recession. Two thirds of eggs by value in the UK were free range, he said. BEIC chief executive Mark Williams has said he is hoping for an increase in overall egg consumption of five per cent in 2014 after 2013 saw UK egg sales finally return to pre-salmonella-scare levels. BFREPA is hoping that a large number of the extra sales will be free range eggs.

The involvement of celebrity chefs is part of a promotional plan to ensure demand for free range eggs does continue to grow. "We all want to see people in the United Kingdom eating more eggs, and we would obviously like those eggs to be free range," said Myles Thomas, BFREPA vice-chairman. "I think British consumers have shown that they do care about animal welfare. That is why sales of free range have continued to grow even during recession. We hope that the promotion will encourage even more people to choose free range eggs."

BFREPA sought financial contributions from the industry in order to create a £50,000 pot to fund its promotional work. Noble Foods provided a substantial donation, as did L J Fairburn & Son. Other contributors include Humphrey Feeds and Humphrey Pullets, Potters Equipment, Country Fresh Pullets, Zoetis, Eggbase, CMC, Blackacre Farm Eggs, BOCM Pauls, Feedex Nutrition, Birchgrove Eggs and Newquip. BFREPA hopes that the number of contributors will grow as the initiative gathers momentum.

As well as celebrity recipes, the new web site contains facts and figures about free range eggs, including nutritional information. There is also guidance for consumers about how to ensure that the eggs they are buying are free range.

BFREPA has also produced bags and banners, leaflets and posters. Myles said BFREPA was also hoping to put together educational packs for use in schools. "That is something that we have in mind. The packs will provide ideas for incorporating free range eggs into school work," he said. Love Free Range Eggs is already making use of Facebook and Twitter. BFREPA is hoping that an app will eventually be developed for iphones and tablets.

The BEIC campaign is intended to increase consumption of eggs generally. BEIC chief executive Mark Williams said in the Ranger last month that "2014 must be the year to drive the egg market forward. We are in the perfect position to build on consumer demand for a product that is now seen as healthy, safe and something that you should put on the shopping list," he said.

The BEIC says that the promotion of eggs for use in main meals is a continuation of British Lion eggs’ long-term strategy and it says it is forecast to deliver a continued rise in egg sales following strong sales in 2013.

Dean Edwards said, “I love cooking with eggs as they are so versatile and quick to prepare. They’re an essential ingredient for all cooks whatever their skill level and they also offer a great value option at meal times so what’s not to like? I’ve developed some delicious recipes that are really easy to prepare so I can’t wait to get them out there for people to try,” he said. Those recipes include an 'English Breakfast Tortilla’ and ‘Eggy Mexican Quesadillas’, which are suitable for everyday use, says the chef. With the health credentials of eggs now widely recognised by health experts, Dean’s collection includes a number of great tasting healthy options, such as the ‘Fiery Egg and Spinach Curry’ to capitalise on increasing consumer demand for eggs in healthy eating diets.

Dean will feature in a series of YouTube videos showing how quick and easy it is to cook with eggs, on eggrecipes.co.uk and he will also be part of a major editorial campaign to showcase the recipes.

Mark Williams said, “We are delighted to get Dean on board. He’s a big fan of eggs and he will really engage with our core target consumers. Egg consumption is already on the up and with Dean’s help we are expecting it to grow even faster.”

The BEIC says that the recipe campaign will be supported by a continuing nutrition focused campaign targeting healthcare professionals and consumers, along with a campaign to reinforce the additional food safety values of the Lion. Recent research has dispelled previously held views linking eggs with high cholesterol and potential risks to the heart. Up-to-date science detailing nutrient content has led to eggs now being seen as a superfood.

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