Farmers seek celebrity backing to challenge economically damaging big egg obsession

Fifty celebrity chefs and bakers are being urged to help change shoppers’ perceptions of smaller eggs, and deliver an economic boost to farmers.

According to the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA), demand for large eggs means smaller ones are “hugely devalued”.

Typically, just 55 per cent of eggs laid by free range hens are ‘large’ or ‘very large’, for which the farmer is paid £1.05 per dozen, compared to 58p for medium sized eggs - and for no good reason, the group said.

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The larger the egg, the greater proportion of white it contains, rather than yolk where the bulk of an egg’s nutritional value is contained, the BFREPA said.

There is no nutritional gain to eating larger eggs compared to smaller ones, according to the British Free Range Egg Producers Association.

To better educate the public, the group’s chairman James Baxter has written to high-profile chefs and bakers, including Yorkshire’s Brian Turner, James Martin and Michael O’Hare, as well as Marry Berry, Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein, asking them to publicly back calls for shoppers to use medium or mixed weight eggs.

They are also asked to omit any needless references to large eggs in the recipes they publish.

Mr Baxter said shoppers have become obsessed with getting the biggest egg they can and that this had to change.

“Egg size can be affected by a number of variables such as the weather, diet and light levels,” he said. “As farmers bird welfare is our number one priority and we want to allow hens to lay what comes naturally.

James Baxter, chairman of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA).

“We hope that these letters will resonate with chefs and bakers who are in positions of influence but, more importantly, care deeply about how food is produced.”