A flurry of retailer commitments to source cage-free eggs represents a seismic shift for the sector and puts pressure on foodservice operators to follow suit, according to Compassion in World Farming.
Major UK supermarkets and convenience chains including Tesco, Aldi, Asda, Morrisons, Lidl, Iceland and Spar, as well as Booker which owns Premier, Londis and Budgens convenience stores, have recently announced their intention to go cage-free.
Whilst Compassion said Sodexo was leading the way with its recent pledge to source only cage-free eggs (both shell and liquid) globally by 2025, it added that Sodexo’s move called into question why other contract caterers had yet to make such a commitment.
“As more and more companies banish caged eggs from their shelves or from their kitchens, and consumer pressure grows, those yet to make a pledge should ask themselves the question – can they really afford not to adopt a cage-free future?“ said Dr Tracey Jones, director of food business at Compassion.
Compassion is calling for businesses in the food service sector to make clear policy commitments across their entire egg supply, including liquid egg used as an ingredient. It noted that while many caterers already offer cage-free whole eggs, there is less transparency about the eggs used in ingredients in foods such as cakes, omelettes or pasta.
Along with Sodexo, Compassion highlighted the likes of McDonald’s, Pret and Subway as long term leaders in the foodservice sector who are free-range not just on their whole eggs, but on every single egg ingredient served in their UK stores. It also noted that pub chains Greene King and Mitchell & Butlers were among the companies to receive a Good Egg Award from Compassion this year for committing to going cage-free on whole eggs.