Woolworths to phase out caged eggs nationally

The supermarket giant hopes to accomplish this by 2025.
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Following the news that Woolworths has recommitted to phasing out caged eggs (see below) from stores Australia-wide, it has been announced that this change could take a greater effect nationwide.

As of late, a nationwide ban on caged eggs was projected for 2046. On Thursday, July 13, however, agricultural ministers will meet to determine whether this ban should be brought forward by 10 years to 2036.

This is in accordance with the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry – which has put forward that the ban be enforced from 2036.

WATCH: How to boil eggs. Article continues after video.

While contention surrounds this 10-year move – from stakeholders and consumers regarding cost of production and the product itself- Woolworths has committed to an even earlier ban.

Woolworths commit to banning caged eggs by 2025

While this news may come as a surprise to some, the supermarket giant had previously drawn attention to this initiative in 2013, announcing they planned to stop stocking the common fridge item by 2018 in partnership with Jamie Oliver.

While these changes did not fully come to fruition, a spokesperson for the national chain has announced they are now working with suppliers to implement the initiative in the next two years.

As revealed to, “We announced our plans to transition our entire egg range to cage-free back in 2013, and we’re working closely with our suppliers to gradually phase-out caged eggs from all the brands we sell by 2025.”

The spokesperson further emphasised this message when speaking with 7News: “We understand a change like this takes time, and that’s why we’ve consulted with our suppliers to ensure they have sufficient time to make changes to their production methods.”

The supermarket giant has made the promise to phase out caged eggs by 2025. (Credit: Getty)

While the spokesperson revealed that half of the Woolworths stores have already gone completely cage-free with their egg range, as of yet, it is only the Woolworths homebrand egg range that has implemented the change nationally. Woolworths-branded eggs have been ‘100 per cent’ cage-free since 2015.

While the recommitment to this promise has recently been confirmed, the national phasing out of the product brings a greater discussion to the forefront.

What are the differences between caged, cage-free, free-range, organic and pasture-raised eggs?

While ‘cage-free’ and ‘free-range’ labels are often interpreted in the same way, these egg classes do differ. 

While the connotation of ‘caged’ is relatively transparent – the ‘other’ labels don’t all mean the same thing.

According to Australian Eggs, “Cage eggs are produced from hens that are housed in cages inside large, climate-controlled sheds.”

On the other hand, ‘cage-free’ eggs are “laid by hens that are housed in large, climate-controlled sheds without cages,” the company states.

‘Free-range’ hens have access to the outdoors. Stocking density (referring to the number of hens per square metre) does vary, however. Insight on density can be found on the cartons.

‘Organic’ simply refers to production without chemicals.

Considered one of the more ‘ethical’ egg-harvesting conditions, ‘pasture-raised’ eggs are derived from “a type of free range production that emphasises lower stocking densities and rotational grazing so there is always ground cover and grazeable plant species for the hens,” Australian Eggs writes.

Pasture-raised eggs are considered one of the more ethical options. (Credit: Getty)

Will the cost and supply be affected when phasing out caged eggs?

Woolworths does not suspect this change will affect their egg supplies. As for cost changes, nothing has been announced, however, it can be noted that the entry price for Woolworths’ cage-free eggs is $4.60/dozen while caged eggs start at $4.50/dozen.

On the other hand, moving the date of ban forward by 10 years has the potential to increase egg prices overall. This was witnessed in New Zealand, where they rose to $15/dozen.

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