SAINSBURY’S has said it is stocking fresh Spanish barn eggs on its shelves to meet increased demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The retailer first said it was considering the move in May, in a letter to its suppliers that said it was struggling to source more than 50% of its requirements from UK suppliers.
It had previously committed to selling only free-range by April this year.
However, coronavirus has created an unprecedented demand for eggs in supermarkets, and therefore considerable requirement for free-range in retailers which only market cage-free eggs.
The supermarket said it was currently selling two million eggs a week, and that demand was “exceptionally high at the moment, as customers spend more time at home cooking and baking”.
The eggs are priced at 85p per half dozen.
A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: We are working closely with our suppliers to offer mixed weight packs, and this is helping us to already source millions more eggs from across the UK.
“And we have been working with the wider UK egg industry to identify opportunities to expand our supply base.
“For example, we now offer British liquid egg which is usually used by hotels and restaurants and have sourced shell eggs which are usually sold into foodservice outlets.
“Unfortunately, even this was not enough, and in order to continue our longstanding commitment to only stock cage-free eggs for our customers, we have been forced to temporarily source more eggs from other countries.
“We are committed to sourcing British as much as possible. British suppliers are telling us that they are now able to provide us with more eggs.
“Hopefully this continues, and we’ll soon be able to revert back to our usual range while continuing to meet increased demand.”
A British Egg Industry Council Spokesman said: This is disappointing news for British egg producers and packers who have been doing a fantastic job to mitigate shortages and ensure supplies of UK Lion egg is available.
“We very much hope that the use of imports is just a short-term measure, and that very soon British Lion eggs are once again the only egg stocked by Sainsbury’s.”