is woolworths just another bad egg?

Submitted by Ahmed on Wed, 2009-05-20 14:30

So there you are; surrounded by posters of poultry basking in their freedom, your conscience and shopping experience clean because you are promised that the eggs you are buying came from free-range chickens. If chickens could smile, I’m sure we would be confronted by an enormous picture of a splendid beaky grin.

Woolworths has long been the forerunner in the promotion and sale of free-range eggs. They are currently renowned and respected for phasing out all battery eggs from their stores and for the longest while we had assumed it was because they had realised that battery farming is cruel and inhumane

Recently it has come to our attention that whilst all the focus seems to be on the actual eggs, Woolworths has neglected to mention the use of battery eggs in their other products. It seems that the eggs that are visible, such as the ones in cartons, are free-range, whilst the ones that are less obvious (at first) contain battery eggs. Actually, every product that contains eggs as an ingredient - except for the egg sandwiches – use battery eggs.

Wendy Hardie, a local filmmaker who is investigating the food industry had this to say about the situation:

    When I asked a representative of the Woolworths Good Business Journey, why they didn't then use free range eggs in their salads and products too, they said there had never been a public outcry about this! I said that I thought this might be because people didn't realize it…
    They also said that there is a shortage of free range eggs, so not enough to cater for the quantities required by their product recipes. This could once have been an argument for eggs in cartons too, but retailers respond to public demand! I asked how Woolworths judged public opinion on such things, and they said they judged this by their sales - and the sales of products containing battery eggs remain good.
    So unlike with eggs in cartons - where consumers could show their support by buying free range eggs instead of battery ones, with products there is no choice, so no economic way of showing how you feel (apart from not buying at all).

Woolworths in an official statement said that using free range eggs, at this stage, as an ingredient in value added products is not cost effective. So it seems that “economic difficulty” is enough of a reason to create a certain image of the company, whilst neglecting to mention that the image is only a half-truth. Woolworths has branded itself as the first retailer to sell ONLY free-range eggs, whilst at the same time neglects to mention that they use battery eggs in other products since it is cost-effective.

If you would like to join Wendy in telling Woolworths how you feel about this, and ask them to please extend their free range egg policy to ALL eggs in both cartons and products too - you can e-mail them at custserv@woolworths.co.za and copy to Wendy Hardie at hardie@iafrica.com so that the responses can be monitored.

pic:The Telegraph

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