On March 10 Dunkin’ Donut announced that by the end of next year 10% of the egg sources for breakfast in the US will come from cage-free hens. Moreover, the company said that by 2022 it will use only gestation crate-free pork. Dunkin’ Donuts has already reached its goal from 2013 of making 5% of its eggs cage-free.
This move is part of a larger trend adopted by food and beverage companies and restaurant chains. This comes as a response to the consumers’ curiosity regarding how the food is made. Consumers are more concerned about what they eat and sometimes they are willing to pay more for foods or beverages which are perceived as being healthier and safer for the environment.
This announcement was made in partnership with HSUS (the Humane Society of the United States). Senior food policy director of HSUS, Josh Balk, stated in a press release that this policy is a proof that both consumers and companies are fighting for separating the egg and pork industries from confining animals in cages. Senior director of corporate social responsibility for Dunkin’ Brands, Christine Riley Miller, said that the company is setting new commitments in order to support the egg and pork industries to eliminate cages and to make known the company’s responsibility to welfare and ethical, sustainable sourcing.
There are also other companies –such as Wendy’s and Burger King, which are trying to shift to cage-free eggs and gestation-crate free pork. Chipotle, the Mexican restaurant chain is known for its compaign which supports “Food with Integrity”. The company is trying to keep the highest respect for animals, farmers and the environment. The key to Chipotle’s business model seems to be charging affordable prices while trying to change the fast food culture. Panera also took steps in this direction. The company took measures for reducing the use of antibiotics and stopping the confinement of animals.
One of the largest snack food companies in the world, Mondelez, is also trying to shift more of its eggs to cage-free operations. The company declared that ultimately they want no cages to be involved in the production of the eggs. TrustHouse Services Group announced last week that it changes all of its 10 million liquid eggs to cage-free.
This trend of going cage-free began to extend starting with 2014, when California enacted a proposition to abolish the confinement of farm animals in crates and cages. Such measure may be good, but they are at the same time costly. According to report by Promar International, the agricultural consultant, hens have more space to move around in cage-free systems, but this leads to a higher cost of feeding, lowered egg production, increased cannibalism inside the flock and enhanced vulnerability to disease.
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