Our producers at The Lakes Free Range Egg Company, are always looking for ways to engage with the younger generation, encouraging them to think about where their food comes from, the benefits of free range eggs and the improved welfare of the hens that lay them.
The approach from programme makers for the BBC Children’s channel CBBC was a perfect opportunity to show how free range egg production works and how it makes a difference.
The Lakes featured in the fifth and final part of a series called Show Me What You’re Made Of. The programme films five children who work alongside people in the UK who make things they rely on in everyday life. This episode visited The Lakes Free Range Egg Company so children could see how free range eggs are produced and packed for the retailer shelves.
The Lakes owners Helen and David Brass worked alongside presenter Stacey Dooley to assess the performance of the children in a series of tasks. The programme began with a first test – which demonstrated to Helen that they could calmly and safely catch a hen.
The children learned that The Lakes have over 135,000 hens in 18 flocks that can wander outdoors and into the shelter of trees, so an obvious second test was to take the children outdoors. The task was to gather in one flock of hens for the evening, returning them to their night time house. The task normally takes two people ½ hour, but it took the 5 children over an hour to complete. They said it was harder than they imagined, but they did get organised in the end.
On day two the children gathered and packed eggs
The next test was to gather eggs that had been freshly laid. The machines were slowed down to help and they managed to gather 2,300 of their target 5,000 eggs.
The final task was to pack egg boxes coming off the factory lines. Again this was quite a challenge but the children did really well, packing the six crates with great speed and efficiency.
Back in the Boardroom, Stacey asked Helen which of the children she would be prepared to employ if they were 18. Helen was pleased to say all would be offered work – even Lucas, who would need extra supervision! Lucas beamed at the news.
The award for star employee went to Maddie – it was the first time she has received promotion during the series and Helen chose her because “she had come furthest on the journey.”
All the children found their visit of great interest and Tom commented “I’m going to open an egg with more passion next time!”
Parents were interviewed about how their children had changed and Lucas’ parents said they felt he had become more responsible and caring, other parents had similar comments.
David and Helen Brass who own The Lakes Free Range Egg Company said “We were pleased to be able to highlight free range egg production to such a young audience. CBBC’s core audience is primary school children aged 6 to 12-years-old and the beauty of a TV program like this is that if you miss it, you can watch it again on Catch Up or on the CBBC You Tube page. Around a quarter of their viewers watch programs on line at a later date – that’s huge.
“We spend time in our local primary schools, but Show Me What You’re Made Of enabled us to hit a much wider audience. Our schools are rural, so most have an understanding where food comes from, but Show Me What You’re Made Of will be watched by thousands of children from towns and cities, many of whom don’t really know the field to fork story.
“We really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot from the questions the youngsters asked. The fact that they went home and appreciated how much effort goes into getting their breakfast eggs on the table is also very rewarding.”