As the controversy over just what constitutes free-range eggs continues, Woolworths has announced plans to eliminate all caged egg brands from its stores by 2018. How will that affect what you pay?
Woolworths announced the plans today, saying it would eliminate caged eggs both from its own house brands and from third-party suppliers. According to the company, 50 per cent of its current sales are of caged eggs, so that's going to represent a major change, even if it does take five years to implement.
While that move might represent an improvement in chicken welfare, the fact that there's no single national standard for free-range or barn laid eggs means that you'll still need to do your research carefully if you're trying to be an ethical shopper. Eggs sold as free-range can vary in chickens per hectare density from anywhere between 1500 and 20,000.
But what if you want to get the best value for money? Caged eggs are cheaper than free-range, but not by a massive amount. Below we've listed the full range of eggs which Woolworths sells in NSW stores, along with their prices. Its Home Brand caged eggs are the cheapest by some measure, coming in at 27 cents per egg. Other caged egg brands range in price from 30 to 50 cents each — which means some caged eggs actually cost more than the Woolworths Select Free Range egg, the cheapest free-range option at 37 cents.
We won't know for some time if the elimination of caged eggs will be accompanies by a price rise for the free range options. However, currently the pricing is quite varied — ranging from 37 to 76 cents an egg — and it seems likely that will continue.
The key lessons for egg shoppers right now:
- Buy in bulk, but check. While it's always more expensive to buy eggs in a half-dozen than a dozen, Pace Farm's 15-pack actually costs more per unit than its 12-pack.
- Typical available egg weights vary from 50 grams to 67 grams. That's not a massive difference, but keep it in mind when comparing different brands.
|Brand||Number||Weight (g)||Cost||Per egg||Egg weight (g)|
|Select Free Range||12||700||$4.49||$0.37||58.3|
|Select Free Range||6||350||$2.99||$0.50||58.3|
|Select Barn Laid||12||700||$4.00||$0.33||58.3|
|Pace Farm Free Range||6||330||$3.65||$0.61||55|
|Pace Farm Free Range||12||600||$5.99||$0.50||50|
|Pace Farm Free Range||12||700||$6.40||$0.53||58.3|
|Pace Farm Free Range||12||800||$6.80||$0.57||66.7|
|Pace Farm Free Range Omega 3||12||700||$6.40||$0.53||58.3|
|Free Range Free Range||12||800||$6.69||$0.56||66.7|
|Farm Pride Free Range||10||700||$6.44||$0.64||70|
|Veggs Free Range||12||700||$6.98||$0.58||58.3|
|Port Stephens Free Range||18||900||$7.50||$0.42||50|
|Family Value Free Range||15||900||$8.06||$0.54||60|
|Manning Valley Free Range||12||700||$5.99||$0.50||58.3|
|Manning Valley Free Range||6||330||$3.40||$0.57||55|
|Mcleans Run Free Range||12||660||$6.93||$0.58||55|
|Field Fresh Free Range||10||500||$4.39||$0.44||50|
|Eco Free Range||10||550||$6.59||$0.66||55|
|Pace Farm Caged||12||700||$3.99||$0.33||58.3|
|Pace Farm Caged||12||800||$4.99||$0.42||66.7|
|Pace Farm Caged||15||975||$6.40||$0.43||65|
|Pace Farm Caged||6||400||$2.99||$0.50||66.7|
|Sunny Queen Caged||18||600||$6.99||$0.39||33.3|
|Farm Pride Caged||18||1000||$5.36||$0.30||55.6|
|Wattle Ridge Environmental Caged||12||700||$5.36||$0.45||58.3|
|Sunny Queen Barn Laid||12||700||$5.45||$0.45||58.3|
|Sunny Queen Barn Laid||12||600||$4.99||$0.42||50|
|Sunny Queen Organic||10||550||$7.65||$0.77||55|
|Pace Farm Liberty Barn Laid||6||330||$3.10||$0.52||55|
|Pace Farm Liberty Barn Laid||12||700||$4.99||$0.42||58.3|