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This month, pastured-egg farmers certified by the Alexandria, Va.-based nonprofit organization Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) will be able to use specially designed AWA-branded egg cartons.
“This means that AWA farmers will now have a national brand complete with the packaging and promotion that comes with that,” explained program director Andrew Gunther. “But unlike conventional national brands, AWA farmers will maintain control of their production and retain their profits.”
AWA maintains that eggs from pasture-raised chickens have a higher nutritional profile, richer flavor, and intense yellow yolks.
“There is growing demand for pasture-raised products and honest food labeling,” noted Gunther. “Consumers are tired of being misled by slick marketing schemes and deceptive labels. People are learning that ‘natural’ doesn't mean pastoral and ‘cage-free’ doesn't mean outdoors. Demand for Animal Welfare Approved products is rapidly increasing, as evidenced by the enormous number of hits on our Online Restaurant, Product and Farm Directory.”
The cartons are made of 100 percent reclaimed paper and the design conveys the message that the eggs within came from hens living on pasture. Additionally, to allow the brand to be both national and farm-specific/local, the carton features a farm-specific label and nutritional information.
AWA-certified farmer Tim Koegel of Windy Ridge Natural Farms in Alfred, N.Y., said of the new packaging:”Labels with integrity and respect are an important producer marketing tool. It adds value to your product, making it easier to sell.”
Along with the branding of the AWA logo, egg farmers will benefit from the price of the new cartons, according to the organization. “By buying egg cartons in bulk, we're acting as a cooperative for AWA farmers and can offer them dramatic cost reductions, with savings of 30 percent to 77 percent on packaging,” explained Gunther. “It's a significant benefit AWA is providing to support our farmers, and to help spread the AWA name -- a winning proposition all around.”