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Woolworths South Africa Champions Cage-Free Eggs

News Section Icon Published 25/04/2024

Compassion was delighted to present Woolworths South Africa with a Special Recognition Award for its leadership in championing cage-free systems for laying hens for over two decades.

Woolworths SA Special Recognition Award presentation photo
Philip Lymbery presents Special Recognition Award to Woolworths SA

In 2004, Woolworths was South Africa’s first retailer to make the switch to selling exclusively cage-free eggs as part of the retailer’s commitment to animal welfare and ethical sourcing. 

Now, two decades later, the retailer sells over 140 million free-range eggs a year as whole eggs, in baked and prepared foods, and as liquid egg.

This commitment means that around 450,000 laying hens are leading better lives each year.

Another significant milestone in Woolworths’ cage-free hens’ journey was in 2012 when one of their major egg suppliers invested in a R20 million facility dedicated to producing pasteurised liquid egg from free-range eggs for Woolworths’ food products.

Commending Woolworths on their achievement, Compassion’s Global CEO Philip Lymbery remarked:

I am delighted to extend my congratulations to Woolworths for their outstanding commitment. As farm animal welfare gains global momentum, this award underscores Woolworths’ pivotal role in Africa, championing improved conditions for laying hens. It symbolises their dedication to addressing customer concerns about animal welfare, ensuring that the hens under their care are raised to elevated standards of welfare.

All of their hens in Woolworths supply spend their days roaming in grassy paddocks (with unlimited access to shade or sunlight and fresh water) where they’re free to do all the things chickens do naturally like scratch, peck and take dust baths; and sleep in spacious, well-ventilated housing by night. 

Woolworths South Africa CEO, Zyda Rylands said:

We are incredibly proud to receive this award as an acknowledgement of our unwavering dedication to animal welfare and ethical sourcing. Our work on cage-free eggs, shaped by continuous dialogue and collaboration with animal welfare groups like Compassion in World Farming, represents just one facet of Woolworths’ ongoing Good Business Journey. Animal welfare is of paramount importance to both Woolworths and our customers, and this motivates us to continually enhance and improve all aspects of animal health and well-being.

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