Sunny Hill Free Range Eggs, from Detchant, Northumberland have been announced the 2011 Poultry Producer of the Year at the farm Business Pig and Poultry Marketing Awards.
The award was given to sisters Christine Young and Catherine Armstrong at the Roast Restaurant in Borough Market, London, and is testament to the hard work of this dynamic young business.
The judges were looking for a progressive, innovative business able to compete in a tough market and were impressed by how quickly Sunny Hill Eggs has grown.
Originally started as a diversification business for the family farm, it is now the North East’s largest producer of free range eggs. The business has grown from 8000 birds to over 60,000 in just six years, with all of the hens housed in purpose built bespoke henhouses in fields overlooking Holy Island. It is these traditional methods and high standards of welfare that the sisters credit for producing high quality eggs and their loyal customer base seems to agree.
Graeme Smith, representing Alltech UK, sponsors of the Poultry Producer of the Year Award explains why Sunny Hill Eggs stood out as winners: “For a young business it is impressive to see how Sunny Hill have positioned themselves within their region, as one of the area’s largest employers, they are quick to embrace change and are diversifying their business to ensure business growth moving from producer to packer, key supplier to a multiple network and the opening of their farm shop. A desire for education, and a product focus on ‘healthy life’ demonstrates they have in our opinion a bright future.”
Around 80% of the eggs are sold in the north east of England and southern Scotland in greengrocers, delicatessens and farm shops and selected branches of Asda, Morrisons and Tesco. The company employs 20 people in egg production and distribution, and a further 12 people in its farm shop, Sunny Hills of Belford.
In addition to the quality and uniqueness of the product, the judges were also impressed with its promotion. From the beginning, Sunny Hill Eggs has had a well thought out marketing campaign. In addition to their high quality marketing materials and website, they are constantly looking for new and interesting promotional opportunities.
Recent campaigns have included their own Egg Festival with specially created recipes and demonstrations during British Egg Week, putting a holiday competition form in their egg boxes and their own Chicken Shy at the annual Glendale Show to raise funds for Help the Heroes.
Learning that they had won this award, Christine Young said, “We are delighted to have been recognised at national level for the quality of our eggs and also the way that we are developing the marketing of our business. We are very grateful to the team at Sunny Hill and to all our customers who have continued to support us and buy free range eggs even in these difficult times.”