Major F&B corporations, including Unilever, Marriot, and Kraft, have committed to sourcing eggs only from cage-free egg supply chains.
Non-governmental organisation Sinergia Animal reports that after surveying more than 50 food companies, 70 per cent (35) are phasing out sourcing eggs from suppliers that use battery cages to produce eggs – a farming method that uses tiny cages in which the animals can barely move.
The Cage-Free Tracker report features new corporate policies from Asian countries, including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, and Thailand. Among the 35 companies, eight provided specific evidence for progress within the Asian market, including Thai hypermarket chain Lotus’s, Unilever, Kraft Heinz, Pizza Express, Wyndham Destinations, and Salad Stop!
“Asia is the largest producer in the world,” said Phichamon Thamasook, corporate communications manager for Singergia Animal.
Thamasook explained that an estimated 1 billion eggs are laid by hens each year, most of which are from conventional battery cages, a system considered so cruel it is outlawed across Europe, Canada, New Zealand, and nine US states.
“Fortunately, our results show that companies in Asia understand that battery cages must go and are changing to more animal-friendly practices too,” she added.
Battery cages confine each hen to a space smaller than an A4 sheet of paper for their entire lifespan. Hens, who are natural foragers, cannot carry out the most basic behaviours such as perching, nesting, dust bathing, or even stretching their wings.
Companies that have pledged to a cage-free policy have committed to supplying and using eggs only from hens who live in cage-free systems, where the birds can live “more naturally”, move more freely, and carry out essential behaviours for their well-being.
“We expect to see even more progress towards cage-free egg production in Asia in the coming years. Consumer concern about the origins of their food is increasing, causing companies to look to improve animal welfare standards,” Thamasook concluded.