Friday, April 8, 2016

Fast-Food Retailers Pushing Forward on Cage-Free Eggs

Happy Chicken
The recent championing of cage-free eggs has largely been pushed forward by fast-food retailers. McDonald's, Starbucks, Panera, Subway, Taco Bell, Wendy's and Shake Shack plan to go cage-free within the next decade. Other food makers -- Nestle and Mars, for instance -- have announced a future switch to cage-free eggs.

Trader Joe's has thrown its weight behind the growing cage-free egg movement, making it one of the few prominent grocery chains to do so.  The beloved supermarket introduced eggs laid by cage-free hens as an option more than a decade ago, and just over 60 percent of the eggs it currently offers are cage-free. The company on Feb. 12 announced it would begin selling only cage-free eggs in all stores by 2025. Locations in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado could see the switch as early as 2020.  (Source: HuffingtonPost)

I think 2015 will go down as the year that food manufacturers and restaurants started ditching ingredients based on consumer input. (SEE! We can make a difference!)  Last week, Chipotle announced it was going mostly GMO-free. Earlier in the year, Kraft announced it was taking the artificial colors out of Original Macaroni & Cheese, Dunkin’ Donuts removed a chemical whitening agent, McDonald’s pledged to serve antibiotic-free chicken, and Hershey’s said its most popular chocolates will go GMO-free.  (Source: MotherNatureNetwork)

My Thoughts
The long-range dates are certainly not comforting, but I believe, with all of this consumer flurry of activity to get "tormented chicken eggs" out of our diets, that the dates are going to be moved way ahead of what they have promised. Panera made a promise in 2015 and has been rolling out the changes almost weekly.

Some people may say, "What's the big deal?"  Even if you don't have a heart for humane animal welfare practices, you should care about the fact that free-range chickens produce a different egg than those caged.

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