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07 April 2020

No-kill eggs: REWE Group planning to increase its offering fivefold

Ambitious goal set for the end of 2020


The REWE Group is further strengthening its leading national and international position in the fight to prevent the culling of millions of male chicks from laying breeds. respeggt free-range eggs were successfully introduced in 2018 and are available in boxes of six at all 5,500 REWE and PENNY stores. Now, REWE wants to switch all private-label egg brands over to no-kill supply chains. This would be a fivefold increase in the number of respeggt free-range eggs being sold in REWE supermarkets by the end of the year, bringing the total to about 260 million eggs  and thereby resulting in every second private-label fresh egg sold at REWE being sourced from a no-kill supply chain. The box of six respeggt free-range eggs is available in all of the roughly 2,200 PENNY stores in Germany. No other discount store, nationally or internationally, has achieved such a milestone when it comes to phasing out chick culling.  PENNY will also continue to push for the phasing-out of chick culling.


At the same time, the number of respeggt laying hens will increase from one million currently to four million by the end of 2020. All of the laying hens come from the respeggt hatchery in Barneveld where the SELEGGT process of determining the gender of chicks on the ninth incubation day is carried out.


“The REWE Group is a worldwide leader in the fight against chick culling. REWE and PENNY are absolute pioneers here and no other supermarket or discount store has been as successful. Our aim to switch over all free-range eggs at REWE to no-kill eggs by the end of the year is an extremely ambitious goal, especially in view of the long-term economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis which still remain unknown. We will achieve this goal by expanding both the “Bruderhahn” projects [which support using, not killing, male chicks] and determining the gender of nine-day old eggs in the hatchery,” explains Bartholomäus Malcherek, Head of Fresh and Frozen Produce and Purchasing and Development of Store Brands National/International at REWE Group. “Current scientific findings show that processes that cannot be used until after the ninth incubation day are not a viable option for us,” explains Malcherek.


“We are working intensively to meet the required egg capacity,” adds Dr Ludger Breloh, Managing Director of SELEGGT. “In fact, we must increase the number of laying hens by 400 percent to do so. For this reason alone, it would not be currently possible to simultaneously supply the discounter sister company, PENNY. I welcome the fact that the REWE Group has taken a clear stand on when the process for determining the gender of eggs should be carried out in the hatcheries.”


REWE has been selling Spitz&Bube eggs from the “Bruderhahn” projects since 2016. The projects ensure that male chicks from laying breeds are raised until they are of slaughter age. PENNY has been offering its customers eggs from the projects under the brand “Herzbube” since 2017. Altogether, over 1.5 million male chicks have been reared.

The cooperatively organised REWE Group is one of the leading trade and tourism groups in Germany and Europe. In 2018, the company generated a total external turnover of around 61 billion euros. Founded in 1927, the REWE Group has more than 360,000 employees in 22 European countries.

Sales lines include REWE, REWE CENTER, BILLA, MERKUR and ADEG supermarkets and consumer stores, the discounter PENNY, BIPA health and beauty store and the toom Baumarkt DIY stores. There are also convenience stores (REWE To Go) and e-commerce activities (the REWE delivery service, Zooroyal online pet food shop, Weinfreunde wine shop and Kölner Weinkeller wine merchant). Travel and tourism under the umbrella of DER Touristik Group includes the tour operators ITS, Jahn Reisen, Dertour, Meier’s Weltreisen, ADAC Reisen, Kuoni, Helvetic Tours, Apollo and Exim Tours, and more than 2,400 travel agencies (including DER Reisebüro, DERPART and partners), the hotel chains ITI Hotels, Club Calimera, COOEE, PrimaSol and Playitas Resort, and the direct tour operator,