... and how is Mrs Clucks positioned?
The below information is derived from Australian Eggs, a non-for-profit company providing marketing and research and development services for Australian egg farmers, who have recently published the latest rounds of their Sustainability Framework Report. First commenced in April 2017, the Sustainability Framework was developed to support the Australian egg industry’s objective of farming eggs for Australians in a way that is socially, environmentally, and economically responsible.
Eggs are an affordable protein source that are nutritionally dense. As an egg contains 13 different vitamins and nutrients, it is no surprise Australians eat 17 million eggs every day - a figure that is demonstrating sturdy growth. This equates to the average person consuming 249 eggs in 1 year.
Whilst the demand for eggs has consistently been large, information relating to how the eggs were produced is now becoming increasingly important, with 52% of egg sales being 'free range' eggs. From survey data commencing in 2018, 32,980 community members have voiced their opinions on factors informing egg purchasing decisions. Over 45% of survey respondents indicated ‘how the eggs were produced’ was the greatest factor in their egg purchasing decisions.
Given the increasing focus on hen welfare, farming in a manner that aligns with community expectations whilst preserving natural resources has catalysed the rise in consumer demand for premium eggs. Increasingly consumers are agreeing that hen welfare is not just the absence of harm, but more so the importance of hens engaging in natural behaviours.
Aligned with increasing consumer awareness, social demand for free range eggs saw supermarkets commit to phasing out cage eggs by 2025, and Eggs Australia reports that many producers are struggling to transition to new production and business models. Why? According to Mrs Clucks, current producers are struggling with switching business model as it is capital intensive and time-consuming.
Internationally, there is a move towards banning cage egg production systems with New Zealand legislating the banning of battery cages from the end of 2022, Europe from 2027, UK has introduced legislation for debate, and China has released guidelines for farmers to be able to label egg products as “cage-free”, setting in motion phasing out the use of battery cages for hens.
Environmentally, the egg industry in Australia has been challenged over the past few years firstly with widespread drought, bushfires, Salmonella enteritidis and bird-flu infections resulting in large scale flock destruction across Southern Australia. This was followed by two years of COVID lockdowns, restrictions which caused significant disruption to supply chains, and most recently, floods.
Mrs Clucks aims to economically solve the issues of hen welfare and land management through its innovative business model that is based on a collaborative community of farmers. Through partnering with a community of local farms, Mrs Clucks achieves low-density grazing with no compromise on scale, and ease of portability.
By prioritising both hen welfare and the productive farming land on which they graze, Mrs Clucks aims to be at the forefront of a sustainable egg production industry.
“Our vision is to grow our business as an honest, ethical and national brand producing the healthiest eggs, fresh from our farms. We work with partner farmers and infrastructure investors so we can focus on our hens in a best practice sustainable and ethical farming business. We use a sustainable farming approach, rationalising capital investment, rotating our flocks across partner farmers’ land to rejuvenate farmland, and help with natural pest control removing the need for artificial fertilizers and pesticides. It’s great for the environment, for our hens, for communities and for us because this method produces the best and tastiest egg.” - Ruth Drinkwater, co-founder
*Always consider the general CSF risk warning and offer document before investing.
All figures sourced from the Australian Eggs Sustainability Framework Report