Consumer lobby group Choice is taking its fight over the stocking densities used by free-range egg producers to the smartphones of consumers, launching a free augmented reality app so shoppers can check the bona fides of any claims.
A meeting of Australia’s consumer affairs minister agreed to a national standard of 10,000 chickens per hectare – one bird per square metre – six times more than “model code” published by the CSIRO, which specifies a maximum stocking density of 1500 fowl per hectare.
The new standard aligns with the level used by the major supermarkets, including Woolworths, Coles and Aldi, but Choice called the new definition a “rip-off”, claiming consumers are spending up to 43 million extra on around 213 million eggs sold as free-range that don’t meet consumers’ expectations. It called for a boycott of eggs from farms stocked at 10,000 birds per hectare.
The Australian industry is worth more than $800 million in retail sales annually, with free-range eggs now making up nearly half the market.
Today Choice enlisted technology in its campaign, launching the CluckAR app, which scans an egg carton, and then assesses how well the eggs meet free-range claims.
Good eggs are green lighted, farms with a 10,000 birds per hectare stocking density and given a red light along with less than favourable comments.
It also points out if the eggs are from caged hens.
The CluckAR app is available here
Here’s Choice explaining how it works: