Animal- and environmentally-friendly eggs

We take several initiatives to improve the welfare of laying hens and offer a more sustainable range of eggs.  For instance, we apply extra production standards and ban cage eggs, also in our products. We also want to facilitate and stimulate conscious consumption with eggs from cockerel-friendly hatcheries and the more environmentally friendly white eggs. 

This initiative contributes to our objectives regarding

Published on 04/04/2022

Animal-friendly production standards

To guarantee the welfare of laying hens as well as the quality of the fresh eggs of our Boni, Boni Bio and Spar private labels, we formulate several requirements in our specifications, in addition to the legislation.  [SVC1] . For example, each cage-free farm must have a covered outdoor area that is at least as big as half of the indoor area. For free range farms we require a soil analysis report of  each pasture area   for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins. And all chickens are given 100% vegetable feed, enriched with linseed oil and exempt from palm oil.

Dorien of organic farm Doba For the Boni Bio eggs we work with organic farm Doba. Picking stones, trees and perches stimulate the chickens' natural behaviour

Only cage-free or free range

Cage eggs have not been available in the supermarket for a long time. They have been banned from our fresh egg assortment since 2005 well before the European prohibition in 2012. We also exclusively use eggs of cage-free hens or free-range hens in all our private label products such as cakes, pasta or mayonnaise.

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cage-free or free range eggs 

Eggs from cockerel-friendly hatcheries

Male chicks of laying hens are considered to be economically and ecologically uninteresting because they do not lay eggs and, compared to a 'meat' chicken, need up to four times more feed to grow and produce little meat. As a result, around 300 million are culled in Europe every year shortly after hatching. the one-day old male chicks.

To avoid this, we use the Seleggt technique, a method that distinguishes male from female eggs after only nine incubation days, without disrupting the incubation process. The eggs that would produce cockerels are removed from the incubation circuit and processed into high-quality animal feed. 

Annelies De Spiegeleer, worker of the Product sustainability Animal welfare VAK centre at Colruyt Group Our colleague Annelies De Spiegeleer (Product sustainability Animal welfare VAK centre) provided solutions to prevent one-day old male chicks in the egg production

Bio-Planet biedt sinds september 2021 als eerste Belgische retailer eieren uit een productie zonder eendagshaantjes aan. De biospecialist van onze groep effent zo het pad voor andere merken en assortimenten. Ook Spar-winkels sprongen intussen op de kar. 

Since September 2021, Bio-Planet is the first Belgian retailer to offer eggs from a production without one-day old male chicks. Our group's organic specialist thus paves the way for other brands and assortments. Spar stores have also jumped on the bandwagon meanwhile.  

Boni Bio white eggs The chicks that went through the Seleggt machine as eggs now lay their own eggs that are on the store shelves as Boni Bio Respeggt

More sustainable white eggs

Research has shown that white chickens lay more eggs , have a longer productive life and eat  seven grammes  less every day compared to brown chickens. This means that for the same egg mass (= egg weight x laying percentage), fewer chickens have to be bred – which in turn means less manure and power consumption in the stables– as well as less feed production and transport. If you know there are some 9 million laying hens in Belgium, it is clear that switching from brown to white can yield   considerable sustainability gains. This is why since 2019 Bio-Planet, Colruyt and OKay sell white Belgian Boni (Bio) eggs, in addition to brown eggs.

White chickens Together with our suppliers, we collect data on feed consumption and egg production of brown and white chickens to map the environmental impact

Conscious consumption

The distinction between the different types of eggs in our stores is clearly visible thanks to the egg code and the info on the packaging. This allows customers to make an informed choice. The lower the first figure of the code on the egg, the better for the chicken. The categories are also on the packaging of course.

  • Cage-free hens have space to scratch and forage, usually in a type of litter.
  • Free range hens can go outside during the day, in the open air. Sufficient outdoor space, bushes, trees and grasses are good for their natural behaviour and condition. They can also take a dust bath and have distractions so that they do not peck at each other.
  • Our Boni Bioorganic eggs  come from farms where the chickens can go outside freely during the day and have more space inside. Furthermore, there must be a laying nest for every eight hens and the beaks may not be cut or sharpened.
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