CHOICE relaunches its campaign against “fake” free range eggs
Disappointed by the April 2016 decision by Australia’s Consumer Affairs ministers to agree to a national standard for free range eggs of 10,000 birds per hectare – more than six times the pre-existing voluntary stocking limit of 1,500 birds per hectare – CHOICE has embarked on a new campaign of opposition to the new standard.
CHOICE spokesman, Tom Godfrey, said, “The draft standard does not require that free range hens go outside and relaxes the requirement for producers to even provide access to an outdoor range.”
CHOICE is now conducting its campaign on a number of levels:
- Direct consumer action
CHOICE previously has launched an app called CluckAR to assist consumers to avoid free range eggs that CHOICE considers “dodgy” because they meet only the very lenient standards. Consumers scan egg cartons to see if the product’s outdoor stocking density meets their own expectation of free range.
Since the app was launched, CHOICE claims that more than 50,000 consumers have downloaded it and scanned 819,000 egg cartons at a rate of 2600 scans per day.
- Political action
CHOICE is also offering consumers an avenue through their website to register their protest at the agreed standards. These figures will be presented to the relevant ministers in an attempt to influence their future decisions.
CHOICE is also making claims that since April, consumers have been paying an annual premium for “dodgy” free range eggs of between AUD $21million and $43million. The breadth of this range is far too wide to be credible.
- App campaign results
CHOICE is using the statistics of its app CluckAR in its submissions to Treasury to prove that consumers are voting with their phones.
However, the statistics fail to demonstrate widespread consumer demand for action:
- Only 50,000 consumers have downloaded the app, and
- On average, each of those consumers has performed only 16.4 scans over 30 weeks
It appears that at present the vast majority of consumers places cost above animal welfare issues, although some supermarkets may be responding to the concerns raised by CHOICE.
- Arguments rage as egg standards leave the cage
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