By Molly Taylor
A LIMESTONE Coast agricultural collective believes transparency has helped it crack the egg market, with The Splendid Egg distributing more than 20,000 eggs weekly across South Australia and Victoria.
Launched five years ago by Liam and Sarah Brokensha as a pastured free range egg farm, The Splendid Egg has grown into a collective enterprise with Tantanoola producers Paul and Kylie Serle.
A recently released national report highlighting increased consumer trust in the egg industry came as no surprise to the Limestone Coast producer, which believes clarity is key to any successful agricultural enterprise.
The CSIRO’s third annual Australian Egg Industry Community Research Report, which involved over 5008 participants and data collected between April and June this year, revealed trust in the egg industry had risen an average of 4pc each year from the baseline 2018 national survey.
More than six in 10 Australians surveyed this year trust the egg industry to act responsibly (64.2pc) and do what is right (62.8pc).
The positive shift in mindset is good news for The Splendid Egg, which has grown from 500 hens to a flock of 6000 and the business now distributes between 20,000 to 24,000 eggs weekly to outlets spanning from Port Fairy to Adelaide.
“It is something we began five years ago as an additional aspect to complement our farming practices implemented on this family property, which has been in the family for around 100 years now,” Mr Brokensha.
“When we first started, we thought we were going to be the first people in the region to be doing it, but we weren’t the only ones who had that idea.
“In the end we partnered with some of those families and have formed a collective.”
Speaking about the report to The Border Watch, Mr Brokensha said transparency was the way any business should operate moving forward, especially in the egg industry.
The report also revealed 76pc of Australians thought the Covid-19 pandemic had made them more aware of the importance of food security.
Mr Brokensha agreed with the results and said he thought Covid-19 had heightened people’s awareness of how and where their food was produced.
“People have started to take more of an interest in how purchased food and products are produced and where they come from,” he said.
“The pandemic has been, for us, an educational process to educate the consumer on the benefits of pastured free range eggs.
“We have always been open and transparent about what we are doing and are constantly publicly sharing and answering all questions people have to ask.”
When Covid-19 first impacted the Limestone Coast, the Brokenshas were concerned with how it would impact on operations.
“40 to 50pc of our business operates through cafes and restaurants so we were concerned with the closures,” Mr Brokensha said.
“We are worried about whether we would have a huge surplus of eggs and what we would need to do around that.
“Very fortunately, the retail sector absorbed all of that and could have absorbed a lot more if we were able to have more supply.”
Mr Brokensha said the hardest part was meeting demand.
“It drove us to increase our flock numbers and egg production, but like everything in farming, there is a lead time and it is not just like you can buy a hen and turn it on and away it goes,” he said.
“It has been our goal to continue supply the retail sector in the way that we were and also continue to supply the hospitality sector as well.”
Mr Brokensha said distribution levels were almost back to a normal balance and the collective would continue to develop its enterprise.