Mayonnaise brand Hellmann's is to be made only with free-range eggs from this month, meaning by all July all Hellmann's on sale in foodservice and retail will be free-range.
Brand owner Unilever Foodsolutions said the change will move 200,000 hens out of cages each year. The announcement comes in the wake of the TV campaign by Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall drawing consumer attention to the conditions intensively-farmed chickens are kept in.
Susan Gregory, category marketing director, Unilever Foodsolutions, said: "We proactively decided to make the change to free-range eggs in Hellmann's Mayonnaise for foodservice back in 2006 and we have been working on the project ever since.
"Hellmann's is a large user of eggs and we had to ensure that we could keep up with demand while ensuring that the quality and taste remained the same. At the time there simply weren't enough free-range eggs available to satisfy demand. However, now that production of free-range eggs has increased we are able to move our supply and ensure better living standards and quality of life for the laying hens we use."
Hellmann's Mayonnaise made with free-range eggs for foodservice will be available through 3663 from July 2008. Terence McMaw, 3663 marketing controller, said: "We are very pleased with Unilever's decision to use free range eggs in one of its most popular products.
"Listing the new Hellmann's Mayonnaise reaffirms the importance of 3663 supplying good quality and where possible, ethically sourced products to our customers, and aligns with our sustainability values."