Family run James Potter Yorkshire Free Range Eggs has made hen welfare a hot selling point after installing biomass boilers and expanding its supply chain.
Based near Thirsk and with over 300,000 laying hens supplying Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-Op, James Potter Yorkshire Free Range Eggs have now cracked supermarket chain Morrisons and will supply 54 of its stores.
Company Director, Adrian Potter, said: “The continued growth and demand for our eggs shows that strong quality and welfare values resonate with our Yorkshire customers. We are constantly looking for new ways to improve the wellbeing of our hens in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.”
Brothers James and Adrian Potter started installation of the biomass boilers in 2016, which once complete will produce over two Megawatts of carbon neutral renewable heat. Biomass is part of the farm’s drive to become environmentally sustainable, adding to its existing solar power installations and thousands of native trees, which have been planted on the farm. Its policy is to sell locally to reduce food miles.
Adrian said: “Investment in biomass is very much part of our hen-centric approach to business and the environment. There’s a noticeable difference in the air quality and our birds seem more content. This really is about creating 5 star accommodation for our hens.”
The heat reduces ammonia build-up and results in fresher air for the hens to enjoy. Biomass also makes business sense, as the farm reports a noticeable improvement in egg production, whilst feed consumption has dropped as the hens require less energy to stay warm.
Keeping the hens cosy results in better quality eggs. The British Free Range Egg Producers’ Association advises reducing stress in hens improves performance.
The Potters recently revealed how their hens lay more and better quality eggs when they play them music by pop star Ed Sheeran, with songs Little Bird and Lay It All on Me.
The brothers’ business ethics also benefit Yorkshire communities as one pence per dozen eggs is donated to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Last year, they raised £50,000; the new Morrisons supply chain is expected to net even more for the charity.
The farm has built a firm reputation for high standards of animal welfare thanks to its ‘hen-centric’ approach and was recently awarded a Good Farm Animal Welfare Award by Compassion in World Farming.
What is Biomass?
Biomass is a form of renewable energy that can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Instead of burning fossil fuels for energy, biomass uses organic materials. These organic materials are derived from a variety of sources. Wood sources such as trees are commonly used, but energy crops, food waste or industrial waste can also be exploited as fuel in biomass heating; The Potters use wood chips at their Yorkshire farm.
Biomass is considered a carbon neutral form of energy because the carbon dioxide released when it is burned is only that which was absorbed by the plant during its life. Therefore, there is no gain or loss of carbon dioxide.
About James Potter Yorkshire Free Range Eggs
“We look after our hens, so they take care of your eggs”
Fully accredited to the BEIC Lion Quality farm assurance and food labelling scheme and RSPCA Freedom Foods Welfare standards, James Potter Yorkshire Free Range Eggs remain relatively unique in that they have never compromised their values, having only ever sold eggs from hens that enjoy a higher welfare lifestyle.
Eggs are one of nature’s most perfectly balanced foods, containing all the protein, vitamins and minerals essential for good health.
The business launched new packaging for its eggs in June 2016.