Compassion’s first annual European EggTrack report shows the progress companies are making towards ending the use of cages for laying hens throughout their egg supply chains.
In recent years, we’ve witnessed a wave of companies making cage-free egg commitments and this report is designed to celebrate those public commitments, hold companies accountable for ensuring year-on-year progress and stimulate a market shift away from caged egg production.
All the companies highlighted in this report have made a commitment to sourcing only cage-free eggs by 2025 or sooner.
By demonstrating the progress companies are making towards meeting their long-term cage-free commitments, we hope to inspire further progress and give producers the confidence to invest in the best alternative systems which are not only fit for purpose, to give the hens a good quality of life but fit for the future too.
We have not included every business with a cage-free egg commitment, but have selected 83 leading group-level companies based on their size, the volumes of eggs they use and their market influence. In total there are 132 subsidiary business divisions included in this report, with a total of 201 individual commitments being tracked.
Compassion encourages all companies to:
- clarify the scope of their commitments and include all forms of egg (e.g. shell, product and ingredient) used across the business, where this is not already the case;
- report progress on commitments to demonstrate that industry is committed to the move and to provide transparency;
- work with suppliers now to ensure the commitment deadlines are met and that a progressive transition to cage-free production is achieved; and
- invest in the best alternative systems, which are fit for purpose (by providing a good quality of life for hens) and fit for future (are acceptable for the lifetime of investment and successfully address emerging issues, e.g. operating with intact beaks).
We are pleased to see that a very good proportion – 75% of the 83 companies included in the first European EggTrack report – have reported progress against their commitments for at least part of their supply chain. Encouragingly, 43% of companies have reported fully against their commitments for all parts of their supply chain.
In future iterations of EggTrack we look forward to seeing all companies reporting progress across all parts of their supply chain, sending a strong signal that the food industry is fully committed to moving away from the use of cages for laying hens.
During the compilation of this report, it was found that a number of the commitments and progress reports are not clear as to which parts of the supply chain they apply to (e.g. which geographies, brands and forms of eggs used). Similarly, it is not always clear what companies mean by ‘egg products’ or ‘ingredients’. Some companies use ‘egg products’ or ‘ingredients’ to mean liquid or powdered egg, etc. and some companies also include eggs for bought-in composite products such as pastries and sauces. We encourage companies to address these issues and provide more clarity to allow complete transparency of their cage-free egg commitments and the progress towards their goals.
Compassion introduced its first US EggTrack report in 2017 and the 2018 report is also out now. Click here to read the US EggTrack Report 2018.
Please find below a selection of resources relevant to companies transitioning to cage-free egg production:
Cage-Free Systems – Laying Hens: A one-page summary highlighting the key points for ensuring cage-free systems are ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘fit for future’
Higher welfare systems for laying hens – practical options: A comprehensive guide to cage-free systems
Laying Hens Standards Matrix: A table showing how different assurance schemes compare to Compassion’s criteria for higher welfare
Compassion’s opinion on Combination (‘Combi’) Housing for laying hens: A summary of why combination systems are not a suitable option for cage-free housing
Video case study about the Kipster higher welfare barn system
Seleggt In-ovo Sexing, winner of our Best Innovation Award 2017
Additional Guidance for Multi-tier Systems: Part of our ‘Fit for Purpose, Fit for Future’ series of resources. Coming soon.
Read more about our Good Egg Awards here