Countdown to drop all caged eggs ... in 2024

The supermarket chain is committing to going completely cage-free by 2025 (file)
The supermarket chain is committing to going completely cage-free by 2025 (file)

Countdown is on track to becoming the first national retailer to sell only cage-free eggs. 

The supermarket chain on Tuesday announced its plans to go cage-free in the North Island by the end of 2024, and by the end of the following year for the rest of the country. 

Countdown earlier committed to transitioning to free range and barn only eggs within its own brand by 2022, but the move was criticised as being too soft. 

The pressure to drop caged eggs intensified following a Newsroom investigation, which revealed millions of eggs were wrongly labelled as free range eggs, when they were from caged birds.

Foodstuffs, which owns competitors PAK'nSAVE and New World, has already made the move to go cage-free within its own brands. 

Animal welfare organisation SAFE has targeted the chain in the past for supporting caged products, putting the retailer under pressure to remove products from its shelves. 

Countdown says it has been working with suppliers for the last two years to increase free-range and barn egg supplies in New Zealand. 

James Walker, Countdown's general manager of corporate affairs, says the change won't burn a hole in your wallet. 

"While customers are showing more and more demand for cage free products, affordability is also a really important consideration in making this decision. As volumes of free-range and barn eggs increase, we would expect prices to come down.  We will always ensure we have a range of competitive egg prices for our customers," Mr Walker says. 

The retailer's largest supplier, Mainland Poultry, made a commitment last week to increase its barn egg supply to meet future demands.


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