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Companies go cage-free

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.

Over 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.

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. 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.

At the same time, FOUR PAWS believes companies must stay transparent and true to their word in their commitments. Compassion in World Farming, whose prime focus is to end factory farming, believes this as well and has created a tool called Eggtrack that helps consumers stay on top of company progress towards their 100% cage-free goals. 

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. It's also important to show companies support for their positive decisions when making your purchases and continue to spread awareness of the issues involving egg-laying hens!

2025

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

2030

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