Premier Foods switched to barn eggs to "remain competitive"

Premier Foods switched to barn eggs to "remain competitive"

Premier Foods plc has defended its decision to move from the use of free-range eggs to barn eggs in its cake products, insisting the switch was necessary for the UK group to continue "providing good value-for-money" to its customers. 

A spokesperson for the Mr Kipling cakes maker told just-food Premier was purchasing barn eggs in a bid to "remain competitive". While the company has abandoned the use of free-range eggs – it has "maintained welfare standards above those held by our major cake competitors" and maintained its commitment to cage-free eggs, the spokesperson insisted. 

"All of the egg ingredients we buy are certified to meet the barn egg standards set by the Association for Controlled Alternative Animal Husbandry, one of the leading European certification bodies for alternative hen rearing systems," the spokesperson said. 

"These standards require our egg suppliers to ensure hens are able to use the entire henhouse at all times and that at least one third of the henhouse is available as a scratching area. The total perch area must be big enough for all hens to be able to perch at the same time and designed to prevent any injuries to the ball of the foot or claws. Sand, straw or other natural materials must be used as litter, nests must be available to the hens for laying every day without restriction and the availability of natural light must be guaranteed. We also require that our suppliers do not use harmful practices such as beak trimming."