Waitrose & Partners was the first UK supermarket in 2008 to sell only free-range eggs, including those used as ingredients in our ready-meals.
We’re celebrating more than a decade since this milestone, and in the process we’ve been industry-leading in raising animal welfare standards, working with farmers we know and trust, to guarantee this for all our eggs.
"We are immensely proud to have been the first in our industry to go 100% free range in 2008. It set a new benchmark for the entire sector and has gone on to positively influence the nation’s buying habits for more than 10 years," says Partner and agriculture manager Duncan Sinclair.
All Waitrose & Partners shelled eggs are supplied by British farms where hens can roam, shelter under trees and display natural behaviour. None of our eggs are from caged or barn systems. Purpose-built hen houses provide permanent access to food and fresh water, plus areas for dust bathing and perching, while laying takes place in comfortable nest boxes.
Our eggs are hand collected from two hen breeds; British Blacktails, which are well suited to life outdoors and lay eggs with vivid orange yolks, and white-feathered hens that consume less feed than conventional birds, helping to reduce their environmental impact.
All our hens are housed in much smaller flock sizes than the UK standard. In line with other responsible retailers, when our free-range hens come to the end of their lives, their meat goes into the food supply chain, as has been the case for many years. Under our strict animal health policy, our farmers do not offer birds for re-homing as it is vital that the industry as a whole maintains the traceability of flocks at all times.
British Blacktail free
British Blacktail hens are exclusive to Waitrose & Partners. They are robust and hardy, renowned for laying delicious, fresh and superior tasting eggs with golden yolks.
Free to roam, they have access to food, drink and shelter at all times. At night, they’re housed in purpose-built henhouses, often powered by wind and solar energy. Eggs are laid in quiet, comfortable nestboxes, and are always hand collected and inspected by our farmers.
Waitrose Duchy Organic British Blacktail eggs
Our organic eggs are also laid by the Waitrose & Partners exclusive British Blacktail hens, but are raised under Soil Association organic standards. Attention to detail is essential. Our hens enjoy organic food from birth and our farmers produce these exquisite eggs with remarkable care and attention.
What's more, the Waitrose Duchy Organic egg box packaging is now made entirely from sustainable, recycled materials – making the boxes themselves fully recyclable too. The boxes are made from a mix of 50% ryegrass and 50% recycled paper using a production method that requires 60% less water and releases 10% less CO2 than producing a standard pulp egg box. The new paper labels, made from recycled materials, save 30 tonnes of paper per year. These new labels will gradually be used on all other egg boxes at Waitrose & Partners.
Clarence Court eggs
Clarence Court free-range eggs are known for their excellent flavour and quality, as well as the care and attention given by the poulterers to the health and welfare of their hens. The birds enjoy warm secluded nest boxes, dust baths, trees and shrubs for cover. They eat a cereal based diet with a generous helping of sun drenched maize, ensuring they lead the most natural and happy life.
What does the Lion symbol on eggs mean?
The Lion mark is a guarantee that the eggs are laid by British hens vaccinated against salmonella. You’ll find it on all our eggs, and the boxes.
Our green nest packs are used with a mixture of grass fibres and recycled paper, which saves 60% of the water needed in standard egg pack production. Greenhouse gases are reduced by 10% and the pack is still 100% recyclable.