WA eggs cage fight for fairer prices

Jenne Brammer and Zach RelphCountryman
Commercial Egg Producers Association president Ian Wilson.
Camera IconCommercial Egg Producers Association president Ian Wilson. Credit: Simon Santi

Commercial Egg Producers Association president Ian Wilson has slammed supermarket giant Coles for ceasing to sell caged eggs in WA ahead of its commitment to stock only cage-free eggs by 2023.

Coles stopped selling caged eggs in WA from March 1 and has replaced its home brand caged eggs with home brand cage-free eggs “from hens free to socialise and perch in a big barn” for the same $3 a dozen.

Mr Wilson savaged the move, which comes as tight supplies are leading to almost bare egg-shelves in supermarkets, and said it would place more strain on struggling egg producers.

“For the past 12 months farmers have been required to pay substantially higher feed prices,” he said.

“The WA egg industry is presently experiencing an egg shortage and Coles ill-timed decision to discontinue a range of eggs indicates a lack of consultation with egg producers.

“Acceptance of cage eggs by Coles Supermarkets in WA would provide a choice for consumers and alleviate egg shortages in this State.”

Coles confirmed WA was the first State to phase out caged eggs.

Industry figures from IRI-Aztec show before March, Coles was selling about 20,000 dozen caged eggs weekly in WA, representing about 17 per cent of its total egg sales.

Coles’ move away from caged eggs has contributed to a major WA shortage in all types of eggs, with supermarket shelves often running close to bare.

Other factors behind the shortage include fewer eggs coming into WA from the Eastern States where there had been a salmonella outbreak.

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