[5 November/ABC News]

Consumer concern over animal welfare is driving consumers to demand pasture raised eggs in Australia as an alternative to both caged and free range products. The definition of pastured raised eggs is based on the way that eggs are produced, the chickens have to be outside, they have to be farmed in a mobile system with pasture rotation and the soils and pastures have to also be properly managed. The production systems are more labour intensive which does mean the eggs are more expensive but they are an alternative to both caged and intensive free range systems. Australia’s appetite for eggs has seen demand increase 54% over the last decade with around 6.2 eggs being eaten in the last year, with more being produced in free range systems than caged systems for the first time. Research has shown that the industry faces trust issues with consumers but MD of Australian Eggs, Rowan McMonnies, said that for many consumers the only eggs that they can afford are caged and it is important that these producers stand behind their animal welfare practices so that a range of price points remain available to egg consumers. Mr McMonnies noted the scale of pasture raised eggs is hard to determine as much of the business is done outside of traditional retail channels but he does believe the sky is the limit in terms of pricing if you’ve got a local story and a farm that people can go to and believe in.