These days more consumers are making their voices heard about how they think farmers should produce crops and livestock. Cathy Isom looks into how consumer demand is changing the nation’s egg industry, and what this will mean for producers. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
From: The Poultry Site
The movement towards cage-free eggs in the US seems inevitable, but one vocal group of egg farmers continues to resist, writes Treena Hein.
The disappearance of any type of caged housing on eggs farms seems as inevitable in the US as it does in Canada, due to a groundswell of commitments from dozens of major North American food companies to purchase only cage-free eggs, some within four short years.
However, whether American egg producers will be able to meet the timelines of the food industry is not clear, and if one group of egg producers gets its way, they will never have to do so.
The cage-free issue picked up steam quickly in the United States in 2015, with sourcing commitments announced by some of the largest American food manufacturers, including Kraft, General Mills and Sara Lee. Major retailers like Wal-Mart and Costco also came forward.
The restaurant sector joined in, with firm deadlines in tow. Denny’s, for example, promised to source only cage-free eggs by 2026. Starbucks went with 2020. McDonald’s in the US and Canada will go cage-free by 2025.
In February 2016, the parent company of two other large fast food chains, Tim Hortons and Burger King, also committed to a deadline 2025 for all its locations in Canada, the US and Mexico. In March, PepsiCo committed to 2020 for sourcing only cage-free eggs in North America and 2025 for all its egg purchases globally.
Kroger, the largest traditional American supermarket chain, is set to go cage-free by 2025. A US animal rights group called ‘Four Paws’ lists many other companies as having committed to cage-free, including Albertson’s (the country’s second-largest grocery chain), Subway, Wolfgang Puck, Kraft Heinz Company, and Unilever (maker of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and many other products).
American food service companies Aramark, Compass Group and Sodexo are also already working towards sourcing only cage-free eggs.
Other major food industry players going cage-free include Dunkin’ Donuts, Sonic, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Trader Joe’s, Target, Sonic, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Campbell’s, Mondelez International, Quiznos, Walt Disney Parks and Cruise Lines, and many more.