Rare white-shelled eggs available in UK supermarkets for first time in 40 years

They have traditionally been sold only to restaurants. (Getty Images)

Home cooking during the coronavirus lockdown has seen a surge in sales of eggs.

As a result of the increase in demand for the super-versatile ingredient, one particular type is making a return to supermarket shelves after more than 40 years.

White-shelled varieties are being stocked in Tesco for the first time in decades after being used exclusively in the restaurant industry, including McDonald’s breakfast McMuffins and in pubs and hotels.

According to The Guardian, the move is to help ensure there is enough supply for customers partaking in baking and brunch from their own kitchens, as well as to support suppliers who were left stuck when the pandemic closed many food businesses.

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White-shelled eggs fell out of favour in the UK towards the end of the 1970s, with consumers switching to brown varieties which they viewed as larger and healthier.

Since the 1980s supermarkets have stocked only the latter, meaning there are now only a very limited number of white egg-laying flocks left in the country.

Now Tesco, which has seen a 30% spike in egg sales year-on-year, is selling medium white free range versions for 89p a box – the same as their brown counterparts – supplied to them by Noble Foods.

Their director, Jean-Paul Michalski, told The Guardian: “Generally our white eggs are sold to a very large global restaurant chain which unfortunately had to close its doors because of the pandemic.

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“They are also used within egg processing where the egg is broken into a liquid to be used for food manufacturers, hotel or restaurants.

“None of our standard retail customers stock white eggs so we are really grateful to Tesco for stepping in as the white eggs would have gone to waste.”

Megan Kilby, eggs buying manager for Tesco, noted that white hens tend to lay eggs for longer and more reliably.

Their introduction comes as many egg-containing sweet treats topped a list of the most searched-for recipes during lockdown.

Read more: Banana bread is most searched-for recipe during coronavirus lockdown

Indeed, BBC Good Food noted that 13 out of the leading 20 fell into the cakes, biscuits or desserts category. 

The top 20 in order...:

1. Brilliant banana loaf recipe

2. Best-ever chocolate brownies

3. Best Yorkshire puddings

4. Classic scones with jam & clotted cream

5. Easy pancakes recipe

6. Classic Victoria sandwich recipe

7. Yummy golden syrup flapjacks recipe

8. Lemon drizzle cake

9. Chilli con carne

10. Vintage chocolate chip cookies

 11. Easy white bread

12. The best spaghetti Bolognese

13. Easy chocolate cake

14. Cupcake recipe 

15. Cheesecake recipes

16. Strawberry cheesecake in 4 easy steps recipe

17. Ultimate spaghetti carbonara

18. Classic cheese scones

19.The best apple crumble

20. Hot cross buns

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