Stars of free range eggs honoured at national awards


15 October 2019

Stars of free range eggs honoured at national awards

The stars of the free range egg sector have been recognised for their achievements and contributions to the sector over the past 12 months.

The Free Range Awards were hosted by the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) at the Hilton Metropole NEC in Birmingham last night.

The awards, sponsored by Elanco, DSM, Newquip and Noble Foods, and attended by upwards of 320 people, highlight excellence from companies and individuals who make sustained, positive contributions to the sector.

Martin and Nikki Lawrence in Llandrindod Wells, Wales, took home the over 16,000 birds producer of the year title for what the judges described as an ‘impressive focus on technology and innovation to drive resilience, welfare and efficiency’.

Developing a unique automated packing system demonstrated the duo’s commitment to increasing efficiency and now means packing time for the 64,000-bird unit can be completed in under four hours. This enabled Martin to turn his attention to production, management and welfare tasks. Under this new management system, eggs per bird consistently increased.

Success continued for Wales as the producer of the year in the under 16,000 hens category went to Ben Edkins in Ceredigion. The judges admired Ben’s fantastic attention to detail, innovative husbandry practices and ability to drive efficiency, all of which puts his business in a good position ‘to adapt and adjust to the fluctuations of the market’.

Jim and Anne Smillie of Corrie Mains Free Range Eggs, Ayrshire, took home local food producer of the year for what the judges described as ‘a shining example of what a free range egg business should be’. The judges admired the commitment of the family team, who have built their business over the past 15 years based on a well positioned brand and reliable service to a range of outlets.

National food business of the year went to Morrisons for its pick your own free range eggs initiative. Available in more than 450 stores across the UK, over 900,000 pick your own free range eggs are now sold each week. The judges praised Morrisons novel approach to retail; adapting to satisfy evolving consumer buying habits, reduce packaging waste and equip customers with point of sale literature reinforcing local messaging.

Marketing innovation continued as Phil Twizell’s ‘The Good Egg Fellas’ brand scooped marketing initiative of the year. Establishing an online mail-order system expanded Phil’s direct-to-customer market, with his Darlington farm now servicing consumers as far afield as London with ultra-fresh eggs delivered the day after lay. Judges liked the brand’s innovative approach to direct consumer marketing, plus its use of social media to grow its customer base.

Breakthrough of the year was awarded to Pankaj Pancholi of JustEgg who wowed judges with his truly innovative ready prepared poached egg. Aimed at food service outlets, eggs are shipped to customers with an impressive 14-day shelf life and simply require gentle heating in hot water for five minutes. Judges recognised the product’s vast potential to revolutionise food service, branding the novel production process a ‘true breakthrough’.

The lifetime achievement award went to Josie Arman, internal sales manager at Joice & Hill Poultry, in recognition of her longstanding career and support of the industry. Working with a wide variety of breeds for over 40 years, Josie has played an integral role facilitating innovation and excellence in modern poultry breeding. Described by Joice & Hill as a ‘lynchpin’ for its operations, Josie was nominated by BFREPA’s council for the invaluable support and contribution she has provided to the sector throughout her varied career.

Sarah Hunt took home the outstanding contribution to the industry award for her commitment and dedication to the sector. Starting out in the sector at 16, Sarah’s excellent attention to detail and organisational skills have seen her excel into her current role as procurement manager at Noble Foods. Working alongside producers and catchers, Sarah is incredibly well known throughout the sector and highly commended for her resilience and ‘ready approach to go the extra mile, ensuring challenges are dealt with day or night’

Natalie Bennison was awarded employee of the year for her efficiency and vigilance in her role as site manager at Sunrise Eggs over the past 10 years. With input into the management of almost 250,000 free range birds, Natalie plays an integral role in everything from trialling new technologies to training staff and shows not only a high level of passion and commitment personally, but inspires the same from everyone she works with.

James Baxter, BFREPA chairman, said: “Every individual or business that won an award has earned their accolade for playing their part in driving forward free range egg businesses and consumption.

“BFREPA is delighted to honour their contributions through the Free Range Awards.”


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Images of the winners are available to download from Google Drive here, or email/call to request one.

BFREPA is the voice of the free range egg industry representing producers who look after in excess of 15m laying hens. Over the past 25 years the organisation has developed a key role in the UK egg industry, influencing legislation, shaping policy and fighting for a fair deal for its members. Find out more at and follow @BFREPA on Twitter.

About Love Free Range Eggs
BFREPA has a consumer-facing campaign called Love Free Range Eggs which informs the public about the world-leading standards of production on British free range egg farms. Find out more at or follow on Twitter and Facebook.