Why do Queenslanders buy more caged eggs?
21st January 2016
Earlier this month Canstar Blue released their survey results on Australian egg retail sales. The key finding revealed that 29 per cent of Queenslanders surveyed said they bought caged eggs making them the biggest purchaser of caged eggs across the Australian states. Interestingly, the main reasons for their choice came down to price and mistrust in labelling standards.
Looking at state legislation we see that Queensland is the only state who increased the number of hens allowed per hectare from 1500 to a whopping 10,000 in June 2013. With that in mind, last week HSI surveyed Queensland consumers who bought eggs prior to this huge stocking density hike to find out what they are buying. The results speak for themselves – an overwhelming 93 per cent claim they want the legislation changed back to 1500 hens/hectare, and over 70 per cent don’t believe 10,000 hens/hectare represents true free range. Almost half of the respondents revealed they have stopped buying free range labelled eggs altogether because the industry has been exposed as fraudulent.
For small family farms who established their businesses following the Model Code recommendations of 1500 hens/ha, these are very frightening times. We represent many of them, helping to protect their futures from being hijacked by large industrial egg producers. Looking at what has happened in Queensland when they intensified the free range standard they are all scared for their future.
After years of confusion over egg labelling, the debate about what the term ‘free range’ really means to consumers is now critical. Since the demand for free range eggs began to escalate, many of those controlling the industry saw an opportunity and hijacked the market, labelling intensively produced eggs ‘free range’ at the expense of genuine producers and good-willed consumers. Thankfully, the Federal Government released a Consultation Paper last year on free range egg labelling which may put an end to this absurdity. Consumer expectations of stocking density is one of the key issues they are considering.
Ms Simpson said, “We have estimated that Australian consumers overpaid around $375 million last year on false credence claims. This deception has to stop and we are confident that this public consultation will finally put an end to this shameful consumer fraud. Consumers throughout Australia have spoken, and they deserve to get what they’re paying a premium for. They should be able to trust the label on an egg carton.”