Woolworths today became the first African retailer to receive the prestigious “Good Egg Award” from international farm animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming (Compassion), for its ongoing commitment to leading the free range egg industry in South Africa. The award is another significant accolade for the Woolworths Good Business Journey, which includes a long-term commitment to animal welfare and free range farming.

In response to customer concerns, Woolworths was South Africa’s first retailer to make the switch to selling exclusively free range eggs in cartons and still remains the only retailer after nearly a decade. The Good Egg Award recognises organisations that have a written policy to source only cage-free eggs or egg products.

Woolworths strives to use only free range eggs in its food products. In 2011, one of Woolworths main egg suppliers invested R20 million in a new specialised facility and farm, the first of its kind in the country, dedicated to producing pasteurised liquid egg (used in food products) from free range eggs. Woolworths sources 120 million eggs every year, approximately half of which are sold in cartons, while the remainder are pasteurised liquid eggs used in its food products. Currently over 75% of Woolworths food products containing egg as an ingredient are made with free range eggs, and the percentage continues to rise each year.

Commenting on Woolworths award, Compassion CEO Philip Lymbery said, “I am so pleased to be able to congratulate Woolworths in this way. Farm animal welfare is rising up the agenda across the world, and with this award we’re recognising the leading role Woolworths is playing in Africa to secure better conditions for laying hens. The Good Egg Award is a sign to its customers that their animal welfare concerns are taken seriously and the nearly half a million hens that produce their eggs are raised to higher welfare standards.”

Zyda Rylands, Woolworths Managing Director of Food said, “We are very proud because this award recognises our commitment to animal welfare and ethical sourcing. Our work with free range eggs, informed by ongoing consultation and engagement with animal welfare organisations, is only one aspect of the Woolworths Good Business Journey.”

“Animal welfare remains a key area of concern for both Woolworths and our customers and we are committed to constantly improving all aspects of animal health and welfare including livestock management and husbandry, housing, animal feed, farm hygiene, environment and transport. For instance, Woolworths is also actively working on wildlife-friendly farming and more humane pig farming,” Rylands continued.

Previous Good Egg Award winners include Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s (second biggest supermarket in the UK), Iglo Foods Group (Europe’s leading branded frozen food business), Kaufland (a large German retailer with over 1,000 supermarkets in Germany and Eastern Europe), Globus SB Warenhaus (a leading trading company in Germany) and French supermarket chain Monoprix.  Australian retail giant Coles also received Good Egg Award last year.




About Compassion in World Farming

Compassion in World Farming is recognised as the leading international farm animal welfare charity. It was founded in 1967 by Peter Roberts, a British dairy farmer, who became concerned about the development of intensive factory farming.

Since its beginnings, Compassion has been making a difference to the lives of millions of farm animals in the UK and throughout Europe. Against a multicultural, rapidly changing, economically challenging backdrop, the organisation has made sure that animal welfare is represented on the political agenda and at the heart of food companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility agendas.

Compassion has won battles to ensure animal welfare is protected by law; and the organisation is influencing change in the way animals reared for food are perceived by consumers and food suppliers.  Various leading voices from the environmental, humanitarian and scientific communities have joined Compassion to challenge intensive, industrialised farming.

Compassion’s Food Business team engages with the world’s leading food companies, inspiring progress through prestigious awards and supporting products and initiatives which represent tangible benefits for farm animals.

About Woolworths’ Good Business Journey

Woolworths’ Good Business Journey is a comprehensive plan to make a difference in six key areas, all of them challenges facing not only South Africa, but the world at large; Energy, Water, Waste, Sustainable Farming, Sustainable Fishing, Transformation, Social Development.

Trained animal welfare specialists from Woolworths and external auditors inspect all of the retailer’s South African abattoirs and processing plants on an annual basis to check that they, and their supplying farms, comply fully with Woolworths product specifications and animal welfare Codes of Practice.

Jeanne Groenewald raises free range chickens for Woolworths. This is her story:



For more information:

Compassion: www.compassioninfoodbusiness.com / www.ciwf.org

Woolworths: http://www.woolworths.co.za/

Media contacts:


Lara Richardson


+44 (0)1483 521 995

+44 (0)78 1403 8196



Babongile Dlamini


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Cell: 0827823856