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Compassion’s Global EggTrack shows the progress companies are making towards meeting their commitments to purchase 100% cage-free eggs by 2025 (2026 for some businesses in the US).

It aims to celebrate those public commitments and create transparency by encouraging companies to report year-on-year progress towards meeting their commitments, while enabling business-to-business conversations that will deliver a stable and successful transition to a cage-free future.

2021 Global EggTrack

Compassion's latest Global EggTrack report shows that 156 of 219 (71%) tracked companies are reporting progress against their cage-free commitments - up from 63% in 2020.

Of the 47 companies with global commitments, 26 (55%) reported progress against these commitments, and since last year, and an additional 12 companies have expanded their commitments to cover their entire global egg supply.

Not only has the level of cage-free reporting increased since 2020 but the quality of reporting has also improved.

Read more of this year's highlights below.

EggTrack - 2021 highlights

EggTrack - 2021 highlights

Global highlights

  • 71% of the 219 companies tracked this year have reported progress towards their commitments.
  • The supply chains of companies who have reported progress now stand at an average of 79.35% cage-free.
  • 12 companies expanded their commitments to cover their entire global supply since last year including Carrefour, Groupe Holder and Restaurant Brands International.
  • Of the 47 companies with global commitments, 26 (55%) reported progress against these commitments.
  • Two companies – Danone and Hormel Foods – reported meeting their global cage-free commitments this past year.
  • 9 companies have recognised the need to eliminate combination systems from their egg supply chains including Barilla Group, Domino's and Eurovo.

EggTrack - 2021 highlights

European highlights

  • EggTrack has seen an increase in companies reporting on their transition to cage-free in Europe, from 83 out of 101 in 2020 to 97 out of 116 in 2021
  • Of the 116 companies with UK or European commitments (as part of a regional or global commitment), 98 companies reported progress (84%) – an increase of 15 companies over last year.
  • 2 companies - Nestlé and Yum! Brands (for its KFC Western Europe Subsidiary) - reported meeting Europe-level commitments this past year.
  • 13 companies reported meeting country-level commitments within Europe this past year including Domino's (Ireland and UK), Greggs plc (UK), Aldi Sud (Hofer Italy), Bertrand Restauration (LEON France), and Schwarz Group (Lidl Spain).
  • The EU cage-free flock continues to grow, reaching 52% in September 2021, up from 50.5% in 2020.

About EggTrack

EggTrack highlights the progress companies are making across not only shell or whole egg, but also their product and ingredient egg supply chains too, which are just as important but often forgotten when it comes to commitments and reporting.

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 with a lifetime worth of investment.

All the companies highlighted in the report have made a commitment to sourcing only cage-free eggs by 2026, or sooner.

Companies were selected based on their size, egg footprint, market influence and commitment deadline and were asked to publicly disclose or update their cage-free percentage this year ahead of 31 July 2021.

All information in EggTrack is based on companies’ publicly disclosed information.

Combination systems are high risk

With less than four years to meet a 2025 cage-free commitment deadline (2026 for many businesses in the US), companies need to speed up their rate of transition. 

However, they should be careful not to opt for systems like ‘combination’ or ‘limited access’ systems, as these may pose a risk to a truly cage-free future.

These systems have internal partitions and doors which, when closed, turn back to a colony cage, and are operated at very high stocking densities. They limit hen movement and cannot be considered as truly cage-free.   

Companies must do their due diligence to ensure these systems are not used and instead invest in well-designed, spacious aviary systems that meaningfully improve the lives of laying hens.

Given that laying hens experience the same physical, behavioural, and psychological distress of being caged wherever they are reared, we urge all companies - especially those with global footprints - to meet the challenge and commit to cage-free eggs throughout their entire global supply.

We encourage all companies to support a cage-free future by:

  • making cage-free your new baseline for both shell and ingredient eggs and publicising this commitment
  • clarifying the scope of your cage-free commitment to include all forms of egg (i.e. shell, product and ingredient), and multinationals should extend regional commitments across their entire global supply chains
  • investing in the right system that is fit for purpose and future-proofed, by providing your suppliers with specific system design requirements (i.e. no combi cages).
  • taking the consumer on the journey with you - when your customers understand what cage-free really means for laying hen welfare, they are much more likely to choose higher welfare products on shelf. Marketing and promotion are opportunities and a the key to success!

Compassion offers help, advice and support for all companies making the transition to cage-free production. Find out more here

EggTrack

Find out the results of the latest EggTrack

Read the full report here
EggTrack

The companies

Review the company and sector progress in this year’s Global EggTrack

Check the progress here
The companies
Laying hens

Laying hens

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Converting to cage-free eggs

Many of the world’s most influential food companies have made commitments to move to a cage free egg supply by 2025 or sooner. Check out our latest Global EggTrack Report to see which companies are progressing towards their global, regional or national cage-free commitments.

In order for companies to fulfil their pledges and meet the growing demand for cage free eggs, they need to invest in the right systems, get contracts in place with their suppliers and pace their transition.

Invest in the best

Egg producers need to ensure that they invest in the best systems, so the birds not only have good health and physical condition, but good mental wellbeing and are able to express their repertoire of natural behaviours.

Companies need to work with their suppliers and invest in production systems that are fit for purpose to ensure that the animals experience a good quality of life and are fit for the future too by meeting consumer expectation of what is an acceptable cage-free system. 

Watch the video to find out more...

Future-proofing investment is critical to commercial sustainability and involves preparing for upcoming issues, such as the need to operate without beak trimming and maintaining good feather coverage, and the need to improve keel bone condition.

The cage-free market is well established in Europe, where over 50% of hens are currently reared in cage-free systems. In the US it is rapidly expanding and there are promising signs of emerging cage-free markets in other regions of the world.

However, over 60% of the world’s eggs are still produced in industrialised systems, most using battery cages, so any global company that has made a cage-free commitment in one region of their supply chain must address this issue in other regions too, especially in regions where cage-free markets are still a small proportion of overall production.

Key considerations

Read more about how to design your cage-free housing and how to develop a successful cage-free supply chain below.

Good Egg Award

Good Egg Award

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Since 2007, the Good Egg Award has recognised companies that use or have committed (within five years) to use cage-free eggs or egg products.

To date more than 99 million laying hens are set to benefit each year from our award winners’ policies.

It takes more than 6.5 billion laying hens to produce the eggs required for the global egg market, with over 60% of hens kept in industrialised caged systems.

Minimum conditions for the protection of laying hens are set out in the EU Directive (Council Directive 1999/74/EC), which has banned the use of the barren battery cage since 1 January 2012. 

In the EU, there are over 360 million laying hens kept for egg production each year, and around 38 million in the UK. Over 50% are housed in cages, the majority of which are ‘enriched’ cages, which although legal in the EU, are still confinement systems.

In the USA, nearly all laying hens are confined in barren battery cages.

Hens start laying regularly at around 18-20 weeks of age and commercially they lay for just over a year before being sent for slaughter. Most of their lives are therefore spent in confinement.

Laying Hens

Laying Hens

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This section contains a welfare potential matrix of the different production systems used for laying hens, as well as a summary of the key welfare issues of these production systems.

For producers converting to cage-free systems, there is a practical guide on the key features of a higher welfare system for laying hens.

You can also read about the welfare of laying hens in alternative systems (summary or full information sheet) and get informed about specific welfare issues such as feather coverage and beak trimming (summary or full information sheet), and how to assess welfare on farm.

Or find out how Compassion's welfare criteria for laying hens compare with other welfare schemes here.

There is also information available about egg production in the EU and the consumer perception of eggs.

 

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