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Companies go cage-free



© FOUR PAWS | Fred Dott

From caged to cage-free

The confinement and housing conditions for a majority of egg-laying hens is brutal. Most hens spend their entire lives in a dark room in a tiny wire cage that only allows each hen little more than an iPad’s worth of space to move around in. In these barren battery cages, hens never escape their surroundings. They are unable to perform any of their natural behaviors, such as the desire to find a secluded spot to nest and lay their eggs. But positive changes are happening. Big companies have listened to consumer demands to improve the welfare of egg-laying hens by switching to cage-free eggs. It is important to note however that while cage-free doesn’t mean cruelty-free, it is a vast improvement over the current industry standard.

 

Approximately 200 companies have pledged to eliminate battery cages from their U.S. supply chains. Of these many companies making the pledge, one of the world’s largest food corporations, Unilever, announced on January 23rd 2017 that it has fulfilled its pledge to go exclusively cage-free for eggs in Hellmann’s and Best Food mayonnaise products – three years ahead of schedule! This achievement has officially set the standard for other large companies to not only fulfill their promise to make more ethical food choices, but to do so sooner rather than later.


Other major corporations that have taken the pledge to become cage-free include Walmart and McDonald’s. Walmart (which includes Sam’s Club) made the pledge in 2016 and is one of the world’s largest retailers and America’s biggest food seller. Walmart plans to purchase all their eggs from cage-free sources by 2025, and with the company accounting for 25% of all groceries sold in the United States this move is certainly a positive step in supporting a better life for industry chickens. In 2015, McDonald’s announced that they too would switch to using only cage-free eggs in all of their restaurants in the U.S. and Canada by 2025. The impact of their announcement is an important one as well. McDonald’s purchases over two billion caged eggs a year for close to 16,000 restaurants. With this decision, McDonald’s switch to cage-free eggs will improve the lives of nearly eight million animals per year.

 

These major corporations’ decisions have urged others to follow suite, but not without a push from the public. Studies have shown that US consumers are becoming more concerned about animal welfare and take it into account when making their food purchases. A 2014 study by Ellen Sills-Levy Insights revealed 67% of participants already consider animal welfare when making food purchases and this trend is on the rise. In 2016, a survey by Lake Research Partners found that 77% of the American consumers surveyed were concerned about the welfare of farm animals. They also found that 78% of participants wanted stores to have welfare-certified eggs, meat, and dairy products available. Of this 78%, 67% of participants said they would purchase welfare-certified products over non-certified ones, even if the welfare-certified products were at higher prices. This greater concern and consciousness for how animals are treated has sent an important message to businesses and their response thus far has been to keep their customers happy.


When more customers request a change for cage-free solutions, they motivate suppliers to switch to cage-free egg production facilities. FOUR PAWS knows that making a complete switch to cage-free eggs will not happen overnight, but it can definitely happen in stages. FOUR PAWS considers a company’s intention to change their policies and strive towards more humane animal welfare policies to be an incredibly important part of that process. FOUR PAWS encourages people to continue to make their voices heard and raise awareness of the issue; your passion for the cause has urged companies to hold themselves accountable for their goals and can continue to encourage companies, such as Unilever, to do so ahead of schedule! For more information on which companies are cage-free and which companies plan to make the switch, please see our lists below. Don’t forget to show companies support for their positive decisions when making your purchases and continue to spread awareness of the issues involving egg-laying hens!


Companies/organizations already using only cage-free eggs:

Aramark (for shell eggs)

Boston University

Centerplate (for shell eggs)

Compass Group (for shell eggs)

Cracker Barrel

Earth Fare

Google

Harvard University

Hyatt Hotels

Krispy Kreme

Marriott International

Noodles & Co.

Red Robin

Sodexo (for shell eggs)

UCLA

Unilever (Hellmann’s and Best Foods mayonnaise products)

Virgin America Airlines

Whole Foods


Companies/organizations making the switch to cage-free eggs by 2020:

A&W Food Services of Canada

AccorHotels

Aramark (for liquid eggs)

Arby’s

Au Bon Pain

Barilla

Bon Appetit

CARA

Centerplate

Compass Group

Costco

Darden

Delaware North

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Parks and Resorts

Einstein Bros Bagels

The Fresh Market

Gelson’s

Harvey’s (CARA brand)

The Hershey Company

Hillandale Farms

Hilton

Marriott

Mars (U.S., Canada, and Australia)

Milestones Grill + Bar

Mondelez International (US and Canada)

Nestle

Panera Bread

PepsiCo (North America)

Raley’s

The Schwan Food Company

Shake Shack

Sodexo

Starbucks

St. Louis Bread Co.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Swiss Chalet

Wawa

Wendy’s

Wyndham Hotel Group


Companies/organizations making the switch to cage-free eggs by 2025:

7 Eleven

Ahold (Stop & Shop)

Albertsons Companies

Aldi

Alex Lee

Applebees

Aramark

Bashas’

BILO

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse

BJ’s Wholesale Club

BLOOMIN’ BRANDS

Bob Evans

BONEFISH GRILL

Boston Pizza

Brinker International

Brookshire’s food and pharmacy

Burger King

Campbell’s

Carl’s Jr.

Carnival

CARRABBA’S Italian Grill

Chili’s

Conagra Foods

CVS Health

Delhaize

DOLLAR GENERAL

DOLLAR TREE

Dunkin Donuts

FAIRWAY

FAMILY DOLLAR

Fleming’s

Flowers Foods

The Fresh Grocer

Gemperle Family Farms

General Mills

Giant Eagle

Grupo BIMBO

Hardee’s

Harveys

HEB

HMS Host

Ingles

Jack in the box

Kellogg’s

King Kullen

KINGS (shell and liquid eggs)

Kraft Heinz

Kroger

Loblaws

Lowe’s

Maggiano’s Little Italy

Market 32

McDonalds

Meijer

Metro

Mondelez International (in Europe)

MTY

Norwegian Cruise Line

OUTBACK Steakhouse

PepsiCo (Global Egg Procurement)

P.F. Chang’s

Price Chopper

Price Rite

Quiznos

Royal Caribbean

Ruby Tuesday

Sam’s Club

SAVE MART SUPERMARKETS

Shoney’s

ShopRite

Smart & Final

Snyder’s Lance

Sobeys

Sonic

Southeastern Grocers

SpartanNash

Sprouts Farmers Market

S&R Fresh Eggs

Stater Bros. Market

Subway

SuperValu

Taco John’s

Target

TGI Friday’s

TOPS Friendly Markets

Trader Joe’s

Tim Hortons

Wakefern Food Corp

Walgreens

Walmart U.S.

Wegmans

White Castle

WinCo Foods

Winn Dixie

Woodman’s Markets


Companies/organizations making the switch to cage-free eggs by 2030:

Chick-fil-A

Cracker Barrel

Denny’s

Golden Corral Buffet & Grill

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Krystal

Publix

Weis


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