Leader in the Italian retailer sector, Bennet, recently announced its commitment to phase out cages and combination systems from its shell egg and own-brand ingredient egg supply by 2022.
The commitment, which covers all shell eggs sold across brands and all its own-brand egg ingredients, is partially in place and aims to reach 100% across all supply chains by 2022.
This decision is the outcome of a journey which started a few years ago and represents an important step forward for the retail sector in Italy.
In addition to their commitment to eliminate cages for laying hens, Bennet has also taken the important position on combination systems, specifying that "they are not accepted by Bennet as comparable to conventional caged systems".
Combination systems are not deemed suitable as the birds may be confined either temporarily or permanently, and their freedom of movement is limited by the partitions within each tier. They do not give hens a significantly better quality of life and can't therefore be considered as a valid alternative to cages.
Bennet's cage-free commitment follows other leading retailers in Italy, such as Lidl and Aldi, and contributes to the industry-wide move to improve welfare for hundreds of thousands of hens.
Elisa Bianco, Senior Food Business Manager in Italy, said: "We are extremely pleased to welcome Bennet's commitment to phase out not only cages but also combination systems from its shell and ingredient egg supply chains.
"By doing so, they are not only contributing to improving welfare standards for hens, but also giving confidence to their suppliers by offering support to help them invest in systems that meet consumer demands for better welfare.
"We will continue to work with industry to ensure that more Italian retailers follow their shining example."