Produce brand prints chickens’ step counts on eggs as proof of welfare 

Honest Eggs Co records its chickens’ activity with fitness trackers to support free-range claims

There is much confusion among consumers about what constitutes free range, and the terms used by the egg category to describe the welfare of chickens can be misleading.

Honest Eggs Co is an Australian egg farming brand committed to 100% transparency and high animal welfare standards; its eggs are farmed using regenerative farming methods and its chickens benefit from space to roam (fewer than 30 chickens per hectare, compared with the government’s regulation for free range of 10,000 per hectare). 

Honest Eggs Co even encourages people to visit its farms (you can book a tour on its website) to prove it has nothing to hide.

In March 2023, the brand teamed up with VMLY&R, Melbourne, and production studio Airbag to create FitChix, fitness trackers designed for chickens.

Inspired by the insight that the egg category is a minefield of naming conventions, ‘all designed to sound like the chickens are getting a pretty good deal’ (the reality is often otherwise), FitChix enables consumers to monitor chickens’ welfare for themselves.

The FitChix trackers are chicken-friendly fitness trackers that don’t impose on the day-to-day life or behaviour of the chickens. According to the agency, multiple prototypes were engineered and calibrated to capture the activity levels of individual chickens – including step counts, which are printed onto each egg laid and sold in Australian supermarkets.

Alongside the fitness trackers, the FitChix campaign is supported by an online video, out of home, social and in-store assets to educate consumers on the importance of sustainable, regenerative farming practices.

‘Honest Eggs Co is on a mission to change egg farming for the better,’ said Honest Eggs Co general manager Roger Boyd, in a release. ‘We launched FitChix to help monitor the health of our chooks and to continue to bring attention to why regenerative farming is better for the hens, the egg, the land, the farmer and the community. In an extremely confusing category, Honest Eggs Co is an easy choice as it is the one you can count on to be honest and transparent about the way we farm.’

Jake Barrow, group executive creative director of VMLY&R, added: ‘Right through from product, to campaign, to transaction point, FitChix is an innovation that delivers irrefutable proof that the chickens at Honest Eggs farms live a free and healthy life.’

Contagious Insight 

Cracked it / As noted by the press release, there is some disillusionment among consumers around claims of being free range, and the terms used by egg farmers can be confusing and misleading. Honest Eggs Co’s chicken step counters are a slightly ridiculous gimmick conceived to generate shares and PR, but they also do a good job of emphasising the company’s commitment to transparency. If government regulation allows farmers keeping 10,000 chickens in 1 hectare of land to call their eggs ‘free range’, how can you know if your eggs came from healthy chickens roaming free or those living in an environment that closer resembles a battery farm? Printing the step count onto each individual egg is a fun and appealing way to communicate the fact that the brand’s chickens are truly free range, while the eggshell is a delightfully unexpected media channel.

Justifying premiumisation / Honest Eggs Co eggs are a premium brand – they retail for about AU$9.99 ($6.60) per dozen, compared with the average AU$5.51 ($3.64). Reinforcing its transparency and commitment to better animal welfare and sustainable farming methods is therefore important for justifying cost, particularly as Australia is experiencing a cost of living crisis. In March, Australians’ grocery bills hit record highs, reports 9News, with the average household spending AU$1,924 ($1,300) more this year than the previous year. On top of that, the cost of eggs has been rising in many countries due to chicken deaths caused by avian flu. Given that factory farming is largely to blame for the avian flu pandemic, Honest Eggs Co’s message about chicken welfare is well timed. 

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