A nationwide hunt for real free range eggs is underway ahead of the Easter holiday, as CHOICE releases major updates to its augmented-reality app, CluckAR.
The original app was launched a year ago, after consumer affairs ministers
signed off on a standard that allows producers to pack 10,000 hens on a
hectare and still advertise eggs as "free range".
This is in contrast to the CSIRO's egg Model Code of Practice, which
advocates a density of 1500 hens per hectare – approximately six times
The revised free range standard doesn't require hens to spend time
outside, says Tom Godfrey, head of media at CHOICE.
"The sad fact is the draft national standard seeks to change the definition
for free range eggs to suit the needs of industrial egg producers," he
"It's time for consumers to end this rip-off and reward genuine free range
farmers, who have invested in production systems that better reflect
consumers' expectations of what free range actually is."
What's new in CluckAR
The original CluckAR app was recognised with a win at the NSW State
iAwards. The app has been used to scan 819,000 egg cartons since its launch
and processes 2600 scans each day.
It works by overlaying an egg carton with augmented chickens illustrative
of hen stocking densities. Those with stocking densities fewer than or up to 1500
hens per hectare pass the CHOICE free range egg test.
Upgrades to the revised app make it possible to pin the location of
retailers selling true free-range eggs to a map, which can be viewed by the
members of the CluckAR community.
Egg providers who don't disclose stocking densities are named, and the app
will also indicate the egg providers who are currently being investigated.
Other upgrades include improved animations and the option to contribute with the purchase of an eBook.
"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," says Godfrey.
CHOICE led a boycott on 19 egg brands advertised as 'free range'. A
petition launched online attracted more than 28,000 signatures.