Albertsons Companies announced this week that it will be working with its suppliers toward a goal of sourcing only cage-free eggs for its store operations by 2025, based on available supply. The company, among the first and largest in the conventional retail grocery sector to make such a commitment, is making the move not only as part of its ongoing commitment to animal welfare, but also in response to customer buying habits.

“We take our commitment to providing responsibly sourced products seriously, and that responsibility extends naturally into ensuring our suppliers uphold humane animal welfare practices,” said Shane Sampson, chief marketing and merchandising officer, in a press release. “The transition to cage-free eggs will help us continue to provide a great, humane product to our customers while ensuring that our suppliers have ample time to prepare their operations to meet increased demand from retailers.”

Albertsons Companies sources product for more than 2,200 stores from reputable vendors who have a track record for treating animals in the food production system humanely. Other retailers, restaurants and manufacturers making the switch to cage-free include Dunkin’ Donuts, General Mills, McDonald’s, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Subway, Taco Bell and Wendy’s.

Kraft Heinz Cage-Free Commitment

As part of continuous efforts to improve sustainability in its supply chain, The Kraft Heinz Company announced it will transition to using 100 percent cage-free eggs in all North American operations by 2025.

“Reflecting our mission ‘To Be the Best Food Company, Growing a Better World,’ we’re committed to responsible, sustainable practices extending to every facet of our business,” said Michael Mullen, Senior Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs, The Kraft Heinz Company. “Making the move to source our eggs exclusively from cage-free hens builds on progress made by both Kraft and Heinz in previous years and reinforces our continuing pursuit of animal welfare improvements throughout our supply chain.”

Kraft Heinz sources eggs in North America primarily for use within its Sauces portfolio including for brands like Miracle Whip, Heinz Mayo and Kraft Salad Dressings. The company defines cage-free eggs as those laid by hens allowed to walk, nest and engage in other behaviors in an open area.

“We appreciate the people at Kraft Heinz working diligently to make this commitment a reality,” said Josh Balk, Senior Food Policy Director for the Humane Society of the United States. “Many animals will have better lives because of it.”

The announcement demonstrates a broader commitment to corporate responsibility for the newly-merged company. “Consumers have growing interest in responsible supply chain practices, and with Kraft Heinz products in over 98 percent of North American households, we’re committed to having an ongoing dialogue on the things that matter most to them,” said Mullen.

The Schwan Food Company Announces Five-Year Transition Plan

The Schwan Food Company announced plans to switch its supply chain to 100 % cage-free eggs by the end of 2020.

“We are excited to have developed a clear path toward making our cage-free transition. As a frozen-food leader, we are committed to reviewing and working with our supply chain to ensure completion of this work as a part of our overall corporate responsibility commitment,” said Dimitrios Smyrnios, CEO of The Schwan Food Company.

The cage-free transition will include all foods containing eggs and sold by a subsidiary of The Schwan Food Company, including Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., Schwan’s Consumer Brands, Inc. and Schwan’s Food Service, Inc. The company made its cage-free commitment after consulting with animal-welfare experts and its suppliers about the future cage-free egg supply. The company’s plans are subject to the availability of certified cage-free eggs.

The cage-free initiative is a continuation of The Schwan Food Company’s corporate responsibility initiatives and its efforts to meet a variety of consumer needs. Along with this effort, the company recently announced its commitment toward ingredient simplicity.