WAITROSE has said it will introduce mixed-weight packaging in its core British Blacktail egg line to improve supply.
In the latest change to egg supply chains prompted by the coronavirus crisis, the retailer said it would sell more small eggs, providing up to half a million extra eggs a year.
Smalls are more commonly sold into foodservice, with retailers more focused on marketing medium and large eggs.
The supermarket said it had sold 100m eggs over the past five months – equivalent to 20 Christmas periods when demand usually peaks.
It is supplied by packer Stonegate, which produces a range of breeds and lines for the retailer.
The new mixed-weight boxes will sell in packs of 12 and cost £2.50 – 20p cheaper than the price of 12 medium eggs.
They are sold on the principle of minimum pack weight, rather than medium or large.
It will come as a welcome development for egg producers who have campaigned for a better mix of eggs to be marketed to shoppers.
The British Free Range Egg Producers Association says that retailers’ focus on selling large eggs distorts the market and is potentially bad for hen welfare.
Waitrose egg buyer Nick Coleman said: “We have a history of pioneering standards in the egg industry and we continue to work with our egg supplier Stonegate to find solutions to give greater value to our farmers and customers.
“This new model will boost availability of our British free-range eggs even further and at a more affordable price, which is good for the industry and good for our customers.”
Eggs in Waitrose are sold in rye grass boxes that are fully compostable.