The co-operative bans sale of eggs from caged hens

The Co-operative is banning the sale of eggs from caged hens from all its 3,200 food stores with immediate effect.

The ban means that all eggs on sale at The Co-operative are now 100% Freedom Food free range or Freedom Food organic. The Co-operative broke ranks with the industry back in 1995 when it became the first retailer to label eggs "Intensively Produced", a technically illegal step, which led to a change in the law and to eggs being labelled "From Caged Hens".

In-store point of sale will support the announcement and highlight the fact that all Co-operative eggs are sourced from the UK, from each of the four countries. The egg packaging has also been updated to highlight The Co-operative's title of Free Range Egg Retailer of the Year, as awarded by The British Free Range Egg Producers Association.

The action to switch to selling only free range eggs comes after a six-month consultation process with Co-operative members, which began last September. More than 100,000 customers across the UK responded to the poll to guide the retailer's food ethical policy. Animal welfare emerged as one of the top areas that members wish to see prioritised by the business.

Steve Connolly, Category Trading Manager for Dairy at The Co-operative, said: "The decision to ban the sale of eggs from caged hens is the latest move in our responsible retailing strategy. We know our customers consider animal welfare and local sourcing to be key areas, so we have listened to them and provided only free range eggs that are laid in the UK."

Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive of Compassion In World Farming said: "This consultation shows that animal welfare is the number one issue for a sizeable proportion of the UK public. CIWF congratulates The Co-operative on being one of the first retailers to implement a ban on the sale of all eggs from caged hens, and we look forward to further far-sighted actions in the months and years to come."