A campaign has been launched to end shoppers’ obsession with large eggs.
The British Free Range Egg Producers Association is asking consumers to eat a range of egg sizes, rather than always reaching for a box of large eggs.
It has launched a campaign to show consumers that hens naturally lay a range of different sized eggs, and to ask them to align their shopping habits to reflect this.
According to the association, the supply imbalance caused by the popularity of large eggs is worse in years like 2018 when hot weather leads to hens eating less food, leaving them laying eggs which are graded as medium.
Association chairman and free-range egg farmer James Baxter of Glenhead Farm, near Stranraer, said a change in buying habits would be better for hens and farmers.
“Hens naturally lay smaller eggs when they are younger and the size increases as birds get bigger,” said Mr Baxter.
“Every day half the eggs laid by British free-range hens are classed as large or very large, which means that half are medium or small. But consumer preference means medium eggs – which are just as nutritious and tasty – are worth less at the farm gate and more will be sent for processing rather than sold as a fresh shell egg,” he said.
He encouraged a change in shopping habits as a means of supporting the sector.
“We would love to see more consumers buying medium or mixed weight boxes of eggs which contain medium and large eggs,” added Mr Baxter.
“It supports what hens lay naturally.”
As part of the campaign a video has been produced featuring Susie Macmillan of Ditchling, Sussex, who keeps 18,000 organic free-range hens.
She explains that the main difference between a medium and a large egg is not the size of the yolk, where the bulk of the nutritional value is, but instead a greater quantity of white.