Foodservice companies collected 13 awards for their approach to farm animal welfare standards as cages for poultry become “consigned to the history books”.
In the past 12 months there has been a wave of commitments to source cage-free shell and liquid eggs. This followed criticism that the sector was lagging behind retail.
All the major UK retailers have committed to using only cage-free eggs. Foodservice is “following suit” said Compassion in World Farming, with pledges made by Sodexo, Compass and Elior all highlighted at this year’s Good Egg Awards.
The Casual Dining Group, which owns high street chains including Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, received a Good Egg Award in recognition of a commitment to source responsibly for whole eggs as well as ingredients.
Whitbread was another winner thanks to its commitment to source only cage-free whole eggs in the UK and Germany by 2020.
Greggs also “continued to demonstrate how seriously it takes animal welfare” by committing to move all egg ingredients to cage-free by 2022. This proves it is possible to offer customers high welfare, ethically sourced food at affordable prices, CIWF said.
Writing for Footprint in March, Greggs’ commercial director Malcolm Copland said humane animal farming “must be a greater priority for the foodservice industry”. Greggs has taken a “pragmatic approach”, he noted, recognising that “there will be occasions where commercial considerations are not wholly aligned with ethical sourcing concerns”.
Pret and the Jamie Oliver Group received a newly-created award for ending the use of cages for laying hens, quail, rabbits and ducks, as well as stalls and farrowing crates for sows, for their full range of fresh, frozen and ingredient products.
“Getting animal welfare right is never easy, cheap or straightforward, but we all recognise it as key to running a successful and responsible business,” said Daniel Nowland, head of technical at the Jamie Oliver Group.
McDonald’s UK was awarded a “good dairy commendation” for its policy to use organic milk from cows with access to pasture grazing and a health programme to improve welfare.
CIWF said the commitments and pledges made by the food industry in the 10 years since the awards began have benefitted the lives of more than one billion farm animals. But foodservice businesses need to “go further” with many still playing catch-up with their retail counterparts.