US egg supplier Cal-Maine Foods has formed a venture with Hickman's Egg Ranch to sell "specialty" eggs in Arizona.

The venture, known as Southwest Specialty Eggs, will acquire the Egg's Land Best franchise for Arizona. It will have licensing agreements for the sale of Egg-Land's Best and Land O'Lakes-branded eggs and "other premium brands", Cal-Maine said.

Cal-Maine president and CEO Dolph Baker said: "This transaction is commensurate with our growth strategy to expand our market reach in specialty egg sales. Consumer demand for specialty eggs has continued to grow, and Cal-Maine Foods is well positioned to meet this demand with a variety of healthy choices for our customers."

In Cal-Maine's most recent financial year, which ended on 31 May, its sales of speciality eggs accounted for 17.2% percent of our total number of shell eggs sold and 24.3% of its shell egg sales revenue.

Hickman's is based in Arizona and has processing operations in its home state, as well as Colorado and California.