The country’s largest supplier of free range eggs, Noble Foods, is predicting a continued growth in the sector - by as much as 10% in 2008.
John Holt, Noble Foods contract supplies manager
To accommodate this growth the company has made significant investments in free range eggs on its own farms and it is running a major recruitment campaign aimed at existing producers who are considering increasing production and at potential new producers.
Based in Tring, Hertfordshire and with packing and technical product development sites around Britain, Noble Foods has already invested £3.5 million in the free range sector in the past 12 months. An additional £4.5 million has been spent in a state-or-the-art packing centre in Lincolnshire with further developments in packing, processing and the distribution chain planned.
Contract supplies manager John Holt sees free-range as a good option on many types of farms across the country. “Despite higher feed costs that have absorbed some of the increase in producer prices, free range egg production is still one of the most profitable parts of farming and demand is expanding.
“We see free range being added to a wide range of businesses from small mixed farms with other livestock to large-scale arable units. And free range is one of the few options for new entrants to farming.
“There’s no need for previous experience in poultry,” adds Mr Holt. “We have a team of eight regionally-based field staff who can offer technical advice on the site, buildings and equipment and on gaining planning permission. And once production starts, we offer a lot of support and are in contact at least weekly in the early days until all parties are happy and confident.”
Mr Holt finds that producers expanding into a second or third flock have different demands but he encourages them to look around at the options now available, as there have been rapid developments in buildings and equipments in the past few years.
Noble Foods will be at the British Pig and Poultry Fair, stand 30, Stoneleigh, on 13 and 14 May to talk to producers and potential producers. Or producers can contact John Holt at Noble Foods on 01623 870384 or on email firstname.lastname@example.org
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