Premier Foods has been accused of slyly defaulting on its promise to only free-range eggs in its Mr Kipling products after a statement from its brand manager was altered to remove a reference to the promise.
The British Hen Welfare Trust has accused Premier Food of betraying its brand commitment and said it attempted to hid it from customers by removing the mission statement.
The trust is asking its members, who give homes to hens rescued from intensive laying systems, to send a feather from their bird to the Premier Foods headquarters with a letter protesting about its U-turn on welfare.
In 2011 Mr Kipling ran an advertising campaign promoting its ethical switch to free-range eggs laid by hens with access to the outdoors. An actress playing Mrs Kipling appeared in a ad saying “Mr Kipling is only using free-range eggs in all his cakes now, bless him.”
Annette Pledger, the Mr Kipling brand manager, promoted the move in a statement which said: “He really is a good egg and that’s why in 2011 he made the switch to baking with only free-range eggs. He uses more than 60 million eggs every single year – that’s a lot of happy hens.”
Premier Foods has reportedly since removed the references on Mr Kipling packaging to using free-range eggs but did not state that it was using barn eggs.
A Premier Foods spokesman said: “Premier Foods made the decision to transition from free-range to barn eggs early in 2015 so that we could continue providing good value for money.”