It started with a petition by a 13-year-old schoolgirl from Sheffield, who wasn’t happy that Tesco, the biggest supermarket in Great-Britain, was still selling eggs from cage-hens. In no time, she collected over 200,000 signatures, forcing Tesco to announce a ban on cage-eggs. Not from today, not even from tomorrow but from 2025. Still, the UK poultry industry thinks it’s all going too fast.
Tesco is not the only British supermarket announcing a ban, rather one of the last. Some of its competitors including Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer do not sell caged eggs anymore, others have announced similar bans which will come into force later. As for Tesco, at present, some 43% of the 1.4 billion eggs it sells each year come from caged hens. In a statement, Tesco says “that it had conducted a detailed review of its egg sourcing strategy, which included consultation with suppliers, industry experts and other key stakeholders.” Matt Simister, Tesco’s Commercial Director for Fresh Food, added: “We carried out an extensive and collaborative review with our suppliers and key industry experts to help us work through how best we can move to 100% cage-free eggs. This will ensure we give our supplier partners the certainty they require, to make the significant and necessary investments needed for the new farming systems.”