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Chicken limbo!

February 26, 2008

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Whilst Jamie Oliver is on top form advocating free range being the most ethical way to eat and treat chickens supermarket sales of battery birds are falling fast. Tesco has outraged the free range guru’s by cutting their price of a battery chicken from £3.30 to a minute £1.99 to keep the budget shopper smiling and fed. You don’t just get the breast or legs for this price its just £1.99 for the whole bird! To keep the peace Tesco have also made 30% increase in free range stock, some may say this is a bit of a contradiction but a positive change all the same. 

Audrey Prest, 59, pensioner from Derby commented that “I’ve chosen to buy free range chicken and eggs for over a good five years because I feel the rearing of battery chickens is cruel, I think its brilliant that it is being promoted more publicially and I hope that my choices to buy free range will influence my friends and family to make the same decisions when shopping”.

But with the average price of a free range chicken costing a staggering £5.90 its difficult to see a large turnaround from battery to free range shoppers anytime soon with a whopping 86% of consumers choosing battery. 

Levanah Gates, 21, Visual Design student from Erdington commented “The recent chicken campaigns did make me think about the choices I made whilst shopping but I found a week later when the bank balance was low I was back to buying battery reared chicken and eggs, free range prices have got to drop considerably to compete with the sales of battery chicken, I think until then shoppers on a shoe string will be more concerned about saving a couple of quid than the lifestyle of chickens however much its promoted as humane.”

Our attention has mainly been drawn to swapping lone battery chicken and eggs to free range however eggs are a major ingredient used in many other supermarket products such as mayonnaises, quiches, cakes ect. It is a rarity to see on packets, bottles and sachets “this product contains battery eggs”. And how much would this deter consumers from buying cheap convenient foods especially when there is little on the shelves labelled “made with free range eggs” for the more free range conscious buyer.  

Jamie has got his work cut out with the money minded supermarkets as they strive to meet consumer demands for cheap as chips chicken- literally. Tesco’s media director Jonathan Church “the only reductions we make are the prices not the welfare” which suggests that Tesco is currently keeping its feet firmly on the ground supplying budget poultry for its bargain buyers.