Cornwall-based St Ewe Free Range Eggs has been awarded the Farmers Weekly’s Poultry Farmer of the Year, a firm which has come a long way since packing their first egg in 1982.
From a small, family-run egg producer packing its own eggs and becoming a limited company by 2007, St Ewe Free Range Eggs has grown exponentially.
Today they are packing for major supermarkets, local and national retailers, as well as some of the top restaurants in the country.
Educating consumers on best in practice farming methods, food provenance, a dedicated and open approach to business, and high welfare, are just some of the core values of their family focused business principles.
Despite their expansion, which saw them opening their new state-of-the-art packing centre in May this year, the business has done what it set out to do and has retained the family feel, with an emphasis on “doing the right thing”.
There is a strong emphasis on bold branding as St Ewe seeks to achieve a premium price for their multi-award-winning products.
Aimee Mahony, chief poultry adviser at NFU was one of the judges on the panel and remarked: “I was impressed by the enthusiasm of everyone who works at St Ewe.
"Their focus and investment in innovation is contributing to a thriving business, while strong branding and family values are at the forefront of everything they do.”
Their celebrated Rich Yolk brand is now seen in some of the country’s if not the world’s finest restaurants, including Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Le Gavroche, Cornerstone and No 6.
Chef Tom Brown, from Michelin starred Cornerstone in Hackney said: “A lot of our food is based on the quality of the produce and simplicity, so if we don’t have perfect ingredients and things aren’t the best they possibly can be, then our dishes fall down completely.
"So, we need perfect eggs and St. Ewe always deliver that, they are always so consistent, they are always spot on for what we need; also, being from Cornwall, that’s a nice link to my heritage”.
All eggs meet stringent Red Lion Code standards, and more than £70,000 was invested in marketing in 2020, including sponsorship of the Exeter Chiefs rugby team with their latest innovation Super Eggs.
This has enjoyed countless awards including Innovation of The Year at the National Egg and Poultry Awards.
It’s not all about making a profit as the company place heavy emphasis on their social responsibilities. During lockdown, they were faced with a loss of 50% of their customers owing to the closure of the hospitality industry.
This is when the company launched its “Shell Out to Help Out” campaign, selling eggs at cost price to the local community, with each tray sold a carton of 6 eggs donated to local food banks.
Ongoing, St Ewe are continuing with their support as the cost-of-living crisis is pushing many into untold hardships.
The company has formed a partnership with food distribution charity Fareshare Southwest and are donating any short-dated and surplus eggs to those in need.
The future looks bright as the new packing centre, housing a Moba Omnia 330 grader, will mean the company can supply more customers and provide the foundation to take the business to the next level.
“We are planning on increasing employment opportunities in the local area by adding another 15 team members – a 33% increase – over the next few years,” says St Ewe’s CEO Bex Tonks.
She insists that, however much the company grows, they will always focus on their humble beginnings and the core values of transparency, nurturing, quality, customer service and social awareness – setting a shining example for the industry.