Countdown cave to activists’ demands but not right now

I sincerely hope that the seven-year target that Countdown has set is a stalling tactic to deal with the unrealistic demands of activists. While it is a lovely idea to think that all eggs can be free range or barn eggs the statistical reality currently is that demand exceeds supply. This is the very reason why a New Zealand free range egg supplier was recently caught selling caged eggs as free range. They simply could not meet the demand so they resorted to fraud.

I wonder if Countdown is being a smidge loose with the truth itself with its promise of free range and barn eggs in seven years time. It seems like a good PR strategy to stop the activists attacking them and leaves them room later to say, ” oh dear, terribly sorry but you see demand still exceeds supply so we can’t make our target.”

Countdown has announced a plan to sell only cage-free eggs by the end of 2024 in the North Island and by the end of 2025 across the rest of New Zealand.

Countdown is the first national retailer to make this move. The move extends Countdown’s earlier commitment to transition to free range and barn only in its own brand eggs by the end of 2022. That had been criticised for not going far enough.

Foodstuffs, which operates Pak’n Save and New World stores, has dropped caged eggs from some of its own brands.

Countdown has come under intense pressure from lobby groups such as Safe to stop selling caged eggs. Safe launched an advertisement this month encouraging shoppers to take action.

Customers should have the right to make the choice for themselves. The reality is that if all consumers wanted only free range eggs then the market would have removed cage eggs because there would have been no demand for them. Once again activists are forcing change on consumers and removing their choices. I am not a beneficiary yet I do not buy free range eggs because they cost too much. How will removing choice from the supermarket help those on a tight budget? The last time I had free range eggs was because I had my own chickens but now that I rent it is no longer possible.

…”Customer demand for free range and barn eggs has increased by 50 per cent in the last two years. While customers are showing more and more demand for cage-free eggs, 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.”

– Stuff

How can prices be competitive if there is only one product left on the market? Free Range eggs will always cost more to produce than Barn eggs and Barn eggs will always cost more to produce than Cage eggs no matter what the volume is.

 

 


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