Following the very successful feedback from our initial ‘Consumer Brand’ survey, completed by participating consumers, we are now pleased to introduce the following questionnaire, whereby we can all have a say on how we would like to see our food produced. Eggs came up as being the most requested consumer product, followed by milk, among the consumers who participated in the survey. There are multiple reasons for that:
- Great Nutritional Value:
Eggs stand out very positively when it comes to nutritional value. Eggs are rich in proteins and contain almost all the vitamins except vitamins C. Eggs are rich in vitamins A, D, E and several B vitamins including B12. Their high level of unsaturated fats is considered to be very healthy, as we need fatty acids originating from unsaturated fats for good cell formation in the body and good resistance.
- A Great Taste:
How can we resist a juicy boiled egg or an omelette with its multiple variations? It is the perfect ingredient to make very tasty baking, pancakes. It is always fast, easy and cheap to cook.
In the UK, we consume 36 million eggs per day, and around 200 eggs per year/ per person (almost seventeen x one dozen (12) egg boxes).
There is no egg without a chicken. If you want excellent quality, beautiful and healthy eggs, you need to ensure that the hen that lays the egg is in top condition, is a happy hen, and has all of her needs satisfied. It is all about animal welfare and good husbandry. On these two aspects, we (as consumers) have to make our voices heard, and we can have a very positive influence. What is a fair price that we are ready to pay for better animal welfare and a fair return to the farmer?
In 2018 around 41 million commercial laying hens were reared in the UK. They are kept in one of three systems; free-range (including organic), barn and colony. The use of non-cage systems is continually increasing, however, about 44% of the hens in the UK are still kept in colony cages. Laying hens are naturally inquisitive animals, with strong desires to perform important behaviours, such as dust bathing, perching, foraging and preening. In summary, animal welfare is clearly dependent on what extent and how the hens are reared, and in the right environment to enable them to perform their natural behaviours.
How can this work positively, when with every day that goes by, the more money is being lost? It is, unfortunately, a frequent situation in egg production. Whatever the production system, egg producers are usually the first victims of any price war. Precarious financial situations are making it very difficult for the farmers to project themselves into the future and to invest for improvement in their productivity, animal welfare, and environment. Today, farm succession, loneliness, family time, and mental health are subjects of concern, which we relate to farming in the UK. Consumers can have an extremely positive influence to bring increased fairness and sustainability. Indeed, paying a little more (5p or 10p per box) means that for less than ￡2 per year (17 boxes x 10 pence), consumers can totally engage and make a very strong and welcome contribution.
Eggs vs. Climate Change, Environmental Concern, and Net Zero CO2 Emission:
Our decisions as consumers can play an extremely positive role. Around 85% of the eggs produced and used for industry or private consumption are produced in the UK. We can decide if the origin of the egg is irrelevant for us, or if it really matters that it comes from the UK. And why not extend our choice to support the local economy (and in doing so, reduce the carbon footprint). We can also influence the packaging. The traditional recycled paper carton board is already successful. However, we can go further, encouraging a packaging innovation, by choosing plant-based packaging (an extra cost of 6 pence per box, or around ￡1 per head/per year).
The collaboration between the consumers and the farmers can even go further. We can decide (as consumers) to pay more, 4 pence per 12-egg box (or 2 pence per 6-egg box) to create a fund, which will support our egg producers and go towards achieving a net-zero CO2 emission by 2025. For an average consumer, it generates an additional 68 pence per year (17 boxes x 4 pence).
We, the consumer, can make our own choices according to what we wish and what we are prepared to pay. At least we have a say, and we will know where our money is going and what for. The final product will be defined by taking the highest percentage of answers per criteria and from our collective decision, The Consumer Team will meet with producers, packers and retailers to market the product. This way everyone has a voice and The Consumer Brand can bring positive change, which comes from empowering the consumers themselves.