New Zealand’s modern egg industry is built on a balanced and sustainable approach to farming and food production. This means considering hen health and welfare, human health and nutrition, food safety, the environment, public attitudes and cost – all together to provide eggs New Zealanders can enjoy now and in the future. Already fortunate to […]Read More
Egg Farming in NZ
Feeding a nation of egg-lovers
New Zealand has one of the most ideal egg farming environments in the world, being free from many of the pests and disease strains that other countries experience, and it leads the world in many areas of farm practice and animal welfare. Today, New Zealand has around 180 egg farms.
The first hens were brought here by Captain James Cook in 1773, and centuries on they are one of the most important sources of food for our country, providing vital protein and nutrients at an affordable price to a nation of egg-lovers.
Kiwis are now eating around 250 eggs per person per year, more than double the 100 we were eating in the early 20th century when most people relied on backyard coops and small free-range operations. As the demand for eggs has grown, our farming methods have had to evolve and expand in order to meet the nation’s need for around one billion eggs per year.
Retail sales of eggs are worth upwards of $286 million and up to 85% of commercially farmed eggs are sold as ‘table eggs’, with the remainder used in the baking and catering industries. New Zealand also has a small but increasing export base to the Pacific Islands and Oceania regions.
As an industry still growing and always improving, the past decade has seen commercial egg farmers working collectively to modernise methods and housing systems across different farming types.
With the introduction of colonies, New Zealand is among the world’s best practice in egg farming. Already favoured in the EU, Colony cage systems meet all Government-mandated quality and welfare requirements while helping maintain the affordability of eggs for consumers.
Cage systems include both conventional cages and colony cage environment systems. Conventional cages are to be phased out by 2022 and replaced with colony systems. As at December 2019, 40% of the national flock are are in conventional cages (a 43%drop since 2013), 24.6% in colonies, 4.47% in barn and 29.62% free-range. Organic eggs make up around 1.40%*.
*Based on independent supermarket sales data.