13 July 2017
CHOICE is warning consumers not to get sucked into the supermarket hype around discounted free range eggs, saying they would be better off focusing on finding a product that actually meets their expectations.
"The sad fact is that there are plenty of eggs labelled free range that come from hens kept in cramped conditions, with no requirement for them to ever go outside," says CHOICE Head of Media, Tom Godfrey.
"Packing hens into sheds or creating situations where most hens can't realistically go outside is a long way from consumers' expectations when they think of free range, and any discount on these products doesn't change the fact that you're still not getting what you believe you've paid for.
"Instead we'd urge consumers, who want to buy free-range eggs to download the newly updated and free CluckAR app, scan cartons to find out whether they meet the CHOICE free range.
The Model Code of Practice for the welfare of animals limits outdoor stocking density at 1,500 hens per hectare, however the national standard lifts this cap to 10,000 birds per hectare – more than six times the current maximum.
CHOICE originally launched a boycott of certain free range egg brands and its CluckAR app in the wake of Consumer Affairs ministers' disappointing decision to sign off on a national standard for free range eggs that has no requirement for hens to actually go outside.
To date, more than 85,000 consumers have voted with their smartphones, with over 2,600 scans being completed every day and more than a million egg cartons scanned since the app was launched.
"The popularity of our augmented reality app, CluckAR, demonstrates that the current free range egg labelling does not provide sufficient information for consumers to make an informed decision.
"Consumers should have confidence that the term 'free range' reflects their reasonable expectation that hens spend time outside, have room to move inside and out, and that farmers employ animal welfare practices.
You can join The Good Egg Hunt by downloading CluckAR II at choice.com.au/goodegghunt
You can join the Bad Egg Boycott at choice.com.au/freerange
Media contact: Tom Godfrey, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669
New CluckAR features
- When you find a free range egg that meets the CHOICE test, the app now displays a golden egg and you are prompted to add the egg to the Good Egg Map. The map displays the location of all the good eggs near you.
- If you scan eggs labelled free range that don't meet consumers' expectations, the app will tell you that the brand fails the CHOICE Free Range Test.
 The Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Domestic Poultry (the Model Code) states that free range eggs should be produced by hens where there is a maximum of 1,500 hens per hectare.
 CHOICE, 2015, Submission to Consumer Affairs on Free Range Egg Labelling