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White eggs back on Tesco shelves for first time since 1980s

Unprecedented demand for eggs has led Tesco to stock the far rarer white variety for the first time in more than 40 years.

With more people now eating at home as well as baking more since the pandemic started, Tesco has seen demand for eggs rocket by 30 per cent.

Now, following an initial trial, Tesco will continue to sell white free range eggs in a major move that will not only satisfy the high demand from shoppers but will also help UK egg suppliers at this critical time.

At the moment chicken farmers’ main outlet for white eggs are restaurants, especially fast food chains like McDonalds who use them in their Breakfast Wrap snack.

Up until the early 1970s white eggs – which are generally medium sized - were popular in the UK but they fell out of favour by the end of the decade when shoppers began switching to the brown variety which tend to be larger.

The move was mainly due to misconceptions back in the late 70s that white eggs were of lower quality and even that they were bleached which has now been rebuffed.

Since the 1980s the British industry has produced almost 100 per cent brown shelled eggs for high street retailers.

Tesco eggs buying manager Megan Kilby said:

“The initial trial during the lockdown has been a success and we will now be stocking white free range eggs for the first time in more than 40 years.

“These eggs are used throughout the restaurant industry so shoppers can be assured of their quality.

“The move could also have a massive agricultural benefit as white hens are more docile than brown ones and lay eggs for longer and more reliably too.”

 There are very few white egg-laying flocks now in the UK with an estimated 250,000-300,000 out of the 40 million egg-laying birds in the UK.

Tesco’s white eggs are supplied by Noble Foods, the UK’s largest vertically integrated egg business in the UK.  

Noble Foods director Jean-Paul Michalski said:

“Generally our white eggs are sold to a very large global restaurant chain which unfortunately had to close its doors because of the pandemic.

“They are also used within egg processing where the egg is broken into a liquid to be used for food manufacturers, hotel or restaurants.  

“None of our standard retail customers stock white eggs so we are really grateful to Tesco for stepping in and helping us out as the white eggs would have gone to waste.”

The white free range eggs cost 89p per pack of 6 – the same prices as their brown free range equivalent.

ENDS

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