Eggs (2)

In the UK, 64.6% of eggs are now cage-free and there has been an increase in free-range

More companies than ever are making global commitments towards cage-free production, according to the sixth annual EggTrack report by Compassion in World Farming.

The report, which tracks food businesses against their cage-free egg commitments, shows more companies have made global pledges during the past year.

Of the 232 companies in the 2022 EggTrack report, 175 (or 75.4%) now report progress towards their cage-free commitments, an increase from 71% in 2021, with an average 79.1% transition to cage-free production systems.

In the UK, 64.6% of eggs are now cage-free, with free-range systems – by far the country’s dominant method – seeing an increase in its market share to 59%, from 53.6%. Organic production methods also rose to a 4% share, up from 3.5%, the report said, while barn production remained at 2%.

Sainsbury’s, Co-op, M&S, Waitrose, Morrisons and Ocado now all stock 100% cage-free shell eggs.

However, Tesco and Asda were both reported as only making “slow progress”. Tesco is currently sourcing 83% of its shell eggs cage-free and 34% of its egg products, according to the data.

Asda has sourced 84% of shell eggs cage-free and has not reported other categories, while Iceland has not reported any of its egg categories.

Compassion in World Farming has advised that to achieve 100% cage-free production, companies must address all egg types in their commitments (including shell eggs, egg products and ingredient eggs).

The organisation also recommends that companies shift to cage-free systems which are fit for purpose.

“Despite difficult economic times, companies are still forging ahead with their cage-free commitments which should be applauded,” said Dr Tracey Jones, global director for food business at CIWF. “It’s fantastic to see an increase in global commitments from leading companies who are showing a reasonable transition to cage-free.”

Danone successfully achieved 100% cage-free production throughout its global business and provided the foreword to the report.

“When we took our commitment to cage-free eggs and egg ingredients in 2018, we knew it wouldn’t happen overnight and that we would need to work closely with our suppliers,” said Cees Jan Hollander, global farming expertise manager at Danone. “But we persisted and reached our target of 100% cage-free eggs and egg ingredients in 2020.

“What’s exciting is that thanks to tracking from Compassion in World Farming, we can see that cage-free eggs are swiftly becoming the industry standard,” he added.

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