BAKO, a leading bakery ingredients supplier, has promised all its own-label egg products will be fully compliant with new legislation by 1 January.

From that date a new EU law means egg suppliers will have to move from the use of battery to enriched cages, in response to continued pressure from animal rights groups. Enriched cages are larger than those previously used (750 cm² compared to 550cm² per bird) and provide perches and room for nesting.

However, there are concerns that government has not done enough to get the whole of Europe signed up to the legislation – with an estimated 31% of suppliers expected to still supply battery eggs.

Rob Evans, egg buyer for BAKO, said: “Our BAKO own-label range comes from a source that has prepared for the changes well in advance, but supply volatility may initially de-stabilise price. We want to assure our customers that our BAKO own-label egg products are fully compliant with the new legislation and we will continue to keep it at the best possible price.”

Nicola Wood, PR & marketing executive, added: “We realise the real need to meet wider market concerns for our customers, which is why we are proud to announce that we will be launching a BAKO own-label free-range selection in the New Year.

“This will allow our customers to buy a quality product at a low price and allow smaller businesses to promote it by utilising the marketing resources made available by the bigger retailers, who will push to bring free-range to the forefront, to avoid the inevitable backlash from animal rights groups that claim these changes do not go far enough.”

Meanwhile, research by the RSPCA has revealed that almost eight out of 10 people in England and Wales (78%) want action to stop eggs laid by hens in illegal barren battery cages coming into the UK.

David Bowles, director of communications at the RSPCA, said: “We want quick, decisive action to stop the trade in these illegal eggs as well as rigorous enforcement of the new legislation and tough penalties for those farmers flouting it. Shoppers are increasingly buying higher-welfare eggs in the supermarket – allowing illegal eggs into the UK would be a slap in the face for the public and a backward step for millions of hens. The RSPCA wants to see action now – before it’s too late.”