October 7 2022
We have come a long way since packing our first egg in 1982. From a small, family-run egg producer packing our own eggs and becoming a limited company by 2007, St Ewe Free Range Eggs has grown exponentially, and today we are packing for major supermarkets, local and national retailers, as well as some of the top restaurants in the country.
Educating consumers on best-in-practice farming methods, food provenance, a dedicated and open approach to business, and high welfare, are just some of the core values of our family-focused business principles.
Despite our expansion, which saw us opening our new state-of-the-art packing centre in May this year, we have done what we set out to do and have retained our family feel, with an emphasis on “doing the right thing”.
There is a strong emphasis on bold branding as we seek to achieve a premium price for our now multi-award-winning products.
Aimee Mahony, Chief Poultry adviser at NFU was one of the judges on the panel and remarked, “I was impressed by the enthusiasm of everyone who works at St Ewe. Their focus and investment in innovation is contributing to a thriving business, while strong branding and family values are at the forefront of everything they do.”
Chef Tom Brown, from Michelin-starred Cornerstone in Hackney remarks – “A lot of our food is based on the quality of the produce and simplicity, so if we don’t have perfect ingredients and things aren’t the best they possibly can be, then our dishes fall down completely. So, we need perfect eggs and St. Ewe always delivers that, they are always so consistent, they are always spot on for what we need; also, being from Cornwall, that’s a nice link to my heritage”.
All of our beautiful eggs meet stringent Red Lion Code standards, and more than £70,000 was invested into our marketing in 2020, including sponsorship of the Exeter Chiefs rugby team with the latest product in our portfolio, Super Eggs, which have enjoyed countless awards including Innovation of The Year at the National Egg and Poultry Awards.
It’s not all about making a profit as we place heavy emphasis on our social responsibilities. During lockdown, when we were faced with a loss of 50% of our customers owing to the closure of the hospitality industry. This is when we launched our “Shell Out to Help Out” campaign, selling eggs at cost price to the local community, with each tray sold a carton of 6 eggs donated to local food banks.
Ongoing, St Ewe will continue with our support as the cost-of-living crisis is pushing many into untold hardships. We have formed a partnership with food distribution charity Fareshare Southwest and are donating any short-dated and surplus eggs to those in need. To date, we have donated over 300,000 eggs.
The future looks bright as the new packing centre, housing a Moba Omnia 330 grader, will mean we can supply more customers and provide the foundation to take the business to the next level.
“We are planning on increasing employment opportunities in the local area by adding another 15 team members – a 33% increase – over the next few years,” says St Ewe’s CEO Bex Tonks.
This will require additional egg production and Bex is on the lookout for like-minded producer farmers across the country to join them on our journey. Winning the Farmers Weekly Poultry Farmer of The Year award, alongside the National Egg and Poultry Awards Egg Packer of The Year, highlights the work the Tonks family is doing for British farming.
Bex insists that, however much the company grows, we will always focus on our humble beginnings and the core values of transparency, nurturing, quality, customer service, and social awareness – and hope to set an example for the industry.