Monday, November 19, 2007

Green Memo

No ham on the side, but these 'Respectful Eggs' are green

A new brand of eggs recently launched in the UK claims to be the world's first "low-carbon" eggs sold in supermarkets.
The egg brand, Respectful Eggs, offers a trifecta of green benefits: The egg-laying chickens live a free-range lifestyle, the hens are fed only a diet of locally-produced grain to reduce the food miles of the feed and thus the eggs' carbon footprint, and the chicken farm in Lincolnshire where the eggs are hatched is powered by solar panels and wind turbines.

The result of these green methods is that free-range Respectful Eggs have half the carbon footprint of standard free-range eggs, according to the company. Respectful Eggs also cost about the same as standard free-range eggs in the UK. The "green" eggs are currently being sold exclusively in the UK at ASDA supermarkets, which is owned by Wal-Mart.

Free-range egg production is becoming a major governmental, consumer and grocer lead movement in the UK. Currently, about 34% of all eggs produced in the UK are free-range. However, experts say that will easily increase to more than half of all eggs being produced free-range in five years.

These experts sight new European Union (EU) upcoming restrictions on the use of hen cages, growing consumer demand for the free-range eggs, and demands being made on suppliers to produce more of the cage-free eggs by grocers. Charles Bourns, National Farmers' Union poultry board chairman, says these three driving forces should significantly increase the expansion of free-range egg producing in the UK in the next five years.. He also said his members are getting increasing demands from UK grocers for free-range eggs.

Meanwhile, the producers of Respectful Eggs, at the Blackberry Lane Farm in Lincolnshire where the hens are raised and the "green" eggs" are hatched, say they're pioneering not only free-range egg production, but green farming overall. They also say the chickens at the farm are living well. In fact, they invite you to visit the farm via the internet and take a look at what the hens are up to using this "Chick Cam" (located at the top in link). You also can read some Respectful Eggs facts, like why the company doesn't use organic grain, here.

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