For years, the rearing of laying hens for the egg industry has involved the sorting out of unwanted male chicks. But now, REWE, one of Germany’s biggest food retailers has achieved an ambitious milestone to end the practice in the production of shell eggs. From now on, REWE offers all fresh eggs sold under its private labels without chick-killing.
Although every German egg producer will be forced by law to end chick killing early as 2022, REWE succeeded in pioneering the welfare-friendly practice in all hen housing types now, and already three months earlier than planned. Notably, this will include its lowest-priced barn-egg private label "ja!" (which means “yes!” in German).
Since “ja!” eggs are by far the bestselling eggs in REWE stores, it’s important that the change is made particularly clear to customers at point of sale.
So to ensure buyers don’t miss the animal welfare message, REWE took the unusual step of changing the logo on its packaging. The familiar "ja!" logo was replaced with the message "nein! zum Kükentöten” (“no! to chick killing”).
To coincide with the move, REWE switched to Hartmann’s new Plus Pack™ egg carton, giving them considerably more space for extra messaging, thanks to the larger printable area. The egg carton (E3210) is only available in the EMEA market.
From now on the "nein! zum Kükentöten" eggs are available in all German REWE stores in the directly-printed 10-egg Plus Pack™.
One of the first organisations to address the issue of chick killing, REWE launched a pioneer animal welfare project in 2016 under the label "Spitz&Bube". The brand name is a clever wordplay in German: "Spitz" means "Pointed" (i.e. beaked) and "Bube" means "Boy" - while the whole word "Spitzbube" means "rascal". It gives egg-buying shoppers the reassurance that male chicks are not directly sorted out but are raised alongside their sisters until ready for slaughter, then their meat (together with that of egg-laying hens) is processed into chicken fricassee.
In 2018, REWE also introduced free-range eggs under the name "respeggt". Innovative technology enables the sex of the chicks to be determined in the egg, so that only female chicks are hatched. The male hatching eggs are then processed into high-quality feed.
For the "nein! zum Kükentöten" eggs suppliers have the choice of which method they prefer, the gender identification in the hatching egg or the fattening of so-called male layer chicks.
But regardless of the method, their packaging carries the yellow heart seal "Ohne Kükentöten" to emphasise their welfare-friendly origin.
Would you like to know more about the product? Then simply follow the link below:
"nein! zum Kükentöten" (in German)
The cooperative REWE Group is one of the leading retail and travel companies in Europe. Founded in 1927, REWE Group has more than 380,000 employees and a presence across 22 European countries. Its sales channels include supermarkets and hypermarkets such as REWE, BILLA, MERKUR and the discount store PENNY.
With over 3,700 stores in Germany alone, REWE is one of the leading companies in German food retailing. The REWE stores are operated as branches or by independent REWE merchants.
According to its own figures, the REWE Group sells over a billion private-labelled shell eggs each year. In 2021, REWE converted all fresh eggs sold under its private labels to the animal welfare-friendly practice.
How the German like their eggs
The population of Germany is around 83 million. On average, each person consumed 239 eggs in 2020 - one of the highest in Europe.