Large-scale egg producers Yorkshire Farmhouse said that the average cost of battery and caged eggs has increased by 40 per cent in the past 12 months as tighter EU regulations affect caged egg production.
Yorkshire Farmhouse director, Adrian Potter, said: “This new research shows just how affordable making the switch to free-range eggs can be.
“We understand that while many people support higher-welfare farming they have been unable to justify the higher prices in these tough times.
“Our latest figures show that free-range food is now becoming more accessible.”
A recent study by Compassion in World Farming (CiWF) found that animal products farmed using higher welfare methods – and these included free-range eggs – contained higher levels of antioxidants and Omega-3 than those from factory-farmed systems.
Yorkshire Farmhouse, the UK’s largest producer of free-range eggs, claimed that the cost of switching to free-range eggs is much lower than consumers might expect.
The firm has said it would be as low as £5.55 a year to make the change, something directors maintain quashes the perception of free-range eggs being considerably more expensive than the cage-farmed alternatives.
Free-range farming systems allow the hens constant daytime access to fresh pastures and to exhibit their natural behaviour, including dust-bathing, foraging among the woods and to supplement their diet with grass, worms and insects, compared with cage-farmed hens.
Battery cages are banned under EU law but some countries are continuing to use them, much to the chagrin of UK producers who phased out cage systems several years ago.
The average person consumes 185 eggs each year.