Demand for Sainsbury’s exclusive Woodland Eggs range has
led to more producers supplying the brand. During the past year
Woodland Eggs has more than doubled in sales volume and, starting
in September, it will be rolled out across Sainsbury’s stores.
Nearly two million hens on farms across Britain are now producing
eggs for Sainsbury’s customers. Producers benefit from a
2p per dozen premium on their egg price, representing a £1million
investment by Sainsbury’s to compensate for the tree maintenance
and additional welfare standards.
Producers are also members of the Federation of Woodland Egg Producers,
which aims to forge closer links with Sainsbury’s. The scheme
has become so successful that there is now a waiting list to become
a Woodland Egg producer in the autumn 2007 tree-planting season.
The Woodland Eggs range was launched in 2004 following feedback
from free-range egg producer and Noble Foods producer, John Widdowson,
on the behavioural benefits of a tree planted environment for hens.
Chickens are descended from jungle fowl and are therefore instinctively
much happier spending time in the shade of trees and hedges, dust
bathing and foraging as their ancestors did.
Woodland Eggs are produced from hens that range in a woodland environment.
The scheme has so far involved the planting of more than 300,000
trees on 134 woodland farms.
All farms are planted with a mixture of fast growing and slower
native trees that are indigenous to the local area. The trees are
planted close to the house to encourage the hens outside to range.
Eggs from the Woodland scheme are all sold through Sainsbury’s
within five free range lines and five Sainsbury’s SO organic
The Woodland Trust, the UK’s leading woodland conservation
charity, has also benefited from Woodland Eggs, to the tune of
a 1p donation from selected packs. To date the charity has received £150,000
to help fund tree planting projects throughout the country, a crucial
step as the UK is currently one of the least wooded countries in
Europe, with just 12 per cent woodland cover.
Michael Hodgson, head
of Sainsbury’s Dairy says: “We
are committed to animal welfare and the biodiversity of the UK
and we’re thrilled to be expanding Woodland Free Range and
Organic eggs across stores in September. Making a positive difference
and being a responsible business is at the heart of everything
Michael Kent, chief executive of Noble Foods comments: “I
am delighted that the Woodland Egg brand is being rolled out across
Sainsbury’s stores. It is a true endorsement of British agriculture,
the uniqueness of the brand and the working partnership that Sainsbury's
and Noble have with British Farmers and the Woodland Trust."
Field-to-Plate Cutting Down on Food Miles
Traditional Breed Beef and Pork in Demand
The Stabiliser: the modern functional suckler cow