30-01-2014 08:36 AM | News, Poultry

White eggs set to make comeback following successful trial



White <a href='javascript:void(0)' class='keyword' id='18' style='text-decoration:underline;color:blue' >eggs</a> set to make comeback following successful trial
White eggs could become a common sight on supermarket shelves following a successful trial by Noble Foods over Christmas.

Noble launched its Snowy White eggs on December 15th as a limited festive season trial in 96 Tesco stores. And the response to the eggs was so good that the company is seriously considering extending their presence on the market. "Noble felt that the trial was a great success," said a spokeswoman for the company.

She said that the Snowy White eggs sold well in store, outselling similar promotional lines. One store sold 440 egg packs in five days, she said. "The packaging looked really striking and festive, and the point of sale had great impact on the shop floor."

Steve Horton, marketing director of Noble's happy egg co said, "With Snowy Whites being so well received by consumers, we are now considering the potential for making them available at other times of the year too. Watch this space.”


Snow Whites are the latest example of the company's stated intention to develop strong recognisable brands in the egg sector. In its last annual report, the company said that it had invested heavily in brand development. It's most recognisable brand to date, happy egg free range, now had an annualised retail value approaching £75 million, the company said in the report. Noble has also developed some cause related brands – Eggs for Soldiers, which helps to raise funds for the Help for Heroes charity, and One Good Egg, which raises money to help disadvantaged people in Malawi.

“Brand and retailer development, together with our ongoing commitment to category management, form key parts of our strategy to drive added value volume growth in the retail shell egg market by increasing both weight and frequency of purchase,” said the company in the annual report.

As the Ranger reported last year, white egg production has been introduced to some Noble producer farms to supply eggs for processing. We spoke to two producers who had taken up white egg production and both were happy with the switch.

Simon Dann, who farms near Dereham in Norfolk, said the birds were very strong, healthy, had low mortality and were more disease resistant. He said they would also lay better for longer than his previous birds.

Des Bradley said production had increased dramatically with the switch to whites on his farm at Grimsthorpe, near Bourne in Lincolnshire. He said the birds were also easier to manage. In fact he was so impressed with the birds that he thought it may be worth trying to re-introduce whites to the shell egg market. Whether his words had any influence on Noble's decision to launch the Snowy White experiment we do not know, but we do know that the experiment is being seen as a success and the eggs could become a regular part of the company's brand portfolio.

The company spokeswoman said, "The trial proved they're a great choice for festive cooks as the eggs typically have larger yolks. We had positive feedback from consumers on the social media channels who found them delicious," she said. To go with the launch of the trial, Noble ran a game of 'Pectionary' on its social media channels to help promote the eggs. Visitors were invited to guess the film from the image on the white egg.

The Snowy Whites were launched under the umbrella of Noble's existing happy egg brand, which has, itself, been seen as a great success since it was launched in 2009. After just a year it had established itself as the biggest brand in the United Kingdom egg category, accounting for 4.8 per cent of total egg market value.

Happy egg has since been launched in the United States and towards the end of last year Noble embarked on a new high profile television advertising campaign in the United Kingdom to reinforce the brand in consumers' minds. The ad was created by the Clinton Partnership, whose other clients have included the Born Free Foundation and Pernod Ricard, and it appeared in the peak Saturday evening slot during ITV1's highly popular X Factor talent show. Other prime time appearances took place during Downton Abbey and Coronation Street.

The trial of Snowy Whites was deliberately aimed at the festive market, with Noble promoting larger yolks - ideal for seasonal bakers. The eggs were sold in packs of 10 and the distinctive yellow happy egg packaging was replaced by festive themed cartons featuring the happy egg mascot hen Freda Roam. The words happy eggs were by happy christmas as part of the festive design. The eggs were priced at £2.50 per pack.

At the time the launch was announced, Steve Horton said, "Interestingly, it used to be only white eggs that were sold in the UK. Because of this, introducing Snowy Whites for Christmas feels rather nostalgic. They're a great choice for festive cooks as the eggs typically have larger yolks, which help Christmas treats taste even better. We're delighted to be launching this limited edition product and hope they help spread some festive cheer into kitchens this winter."

Noble said that, in keeping with the happy egg co's philosophy, the hens always came first. The eggs were being sourced from a happy egg farm that boasted the highest standards of animal welfare.

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