Nestlé, the World’s Biggest Food Company, Goes All In on Cage Free

By on December 22, 2015 with 11 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

The global food giant Nestlé has announced that it will switch to 100 percent cage-free eggs in the United States by 2020.

There’s been an absolute avalanche of similar announcements concerning cage-free production this year—from McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Compass Group, Aramark, Sodexo, Starbucks, Panera Bread, Dunkin’ Donuts—and well, the list goes on (and on, and on). In fact, just yesterday Carnival Corp.—the world’s largest cruise company—announced a 100 percent cage-free shift. Last week, Caribou Coffee, Peet’s Coffee, Einstein Bros. Bagels, and Shake Shack all announced cage-free phase-ins. And the week before that, Flowers Foods, the $3.7 billion baked foods company and maker of iconic brands like Wonder Bread and Tastykake, announced it too is going 100 percent cage-free. We are in the throes of a massive global transition away from cage confinement of hens and toward cage-free production.

Nestlé is the world’s largest food company—it has over 2,000 brands, nearly $100 billion in annual sales, and it uses 200 million eggs annually (for brands like Häagen-Dazs, Dreyer’s, Edy’s, Toll House, Buitoni, Lean Cuisine and Stouffer’s).  At that volume, the company’s cage-free shift will result in nearly 780,000 fewer birds confined in cages each and every year.

“Our products are in the fridges and pantries of socially-conscious consumers across the United States, and we share their belief in the importance of responsibly-sourced ingredients,” said Paul Grimwood, chairman and CEO of Nestlé USA. “The move to using exclusively cage-free eggs is one more way that we’re responding to consumers and establishing a precedent for farm animal welfare.”

We’ve been proud to work with Nestlé for the last several years on this and other animal welfare initiatives. This is the humane economy in action, with major players like Nestlé and so many more working to eliminate cages and other inhumane practices from their supply chains, demanding better outcomes for animals, and aligning their purchasing practices with the emerging and established values of their customers.

Farm Animals

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  1. After months of pressure, Costco commits to a cage-free egg supply - Quartz | December 28, 2015
  1. Elisabeth mccarthy says:

    This is wonderful but when I read the dates they are so far off in the distance. Why does it take 4, 5 or more years to make this transition? And do these companies make any humane adjustments during the interim? Is their a system for thoroughly following up after the promised deadline or is it honor system? Personally I won’t buy their products until they are fully compliant.

    • Maxine Snow says:

      What’s taking so long, you ask? ! Please think of the the current chicken farms….nothing but big long buildings housing the chickens, packed in like sardines. They can’t just open the doors & let all the chickens loose. The chicken barns I’ve seen are next to the highway for convenient shipping. These chicken companies are more than likely going to have to buy proper masses of land & build giant shelters to put in giant fields. And have to go through lots of red tape to be approved by each town in which they buy land, build chicken shelters & fence. BTW, Chickens , “roost” , at night. & they have to have a nice dry nest to lay their eggs. “Free range”, is only for the birds “during the day”. They can’t just be turned out into a pasture to live forever. How you going to find the eggs? And I’m guessing they need some sort of fencing too….remember, “chicken wire”? Hundreds of miles of chicken wire. And what about predators during free ranging? Some sort of giant expensive system to keep away fox, raccoon, coyotes, eagles, etc. Who/what doesn’t eat chicken?! & eggs! They don’t have to be roasted or over easy. Also, These chicken companies have to find & train employees & free range chicken farm managers. Folks! Give these corporations some time. Remember, currently they aren’t taking proper care of these chickens…..That’s the whole point!…. The whole reason for this project in the first place. Chickens are living in Hell. Also, get ready for a price change. Are chicken & eggs $ going up? You betcha! It’s the price of humane care for animals. So don’t complain about chicken farms taking too much time to get right. And please keep eating at all the fast food restaurants who put the squeeze on chicken & egg suppliers wallets, demanding they spend millions for resort living for these birds. And don’t forget Wayne Pacelle, CEO of Humane Society of US, who has worked years getting worlds biggest fast food chains to hold chicken farmers hostage to a new way of life for their chickens. Send Wayne some donations for God’s sake. I don’t think the man ever sleeps. He’s saving dogs, cats, elephants, whales, pigs, ….the list is non-stop. At least send him a “Hip Hip Hooray. We love you Wayne.,” email. & /or join his “Wayne’s Blog” & keep giving him encouragement. The man is a genius & a saint. ( Commenters: Apologies accepted for being mad at the time frame. I know you just didn’t think things thru. It’s ok)

      • Annette says:

        Where did the article say”free range”? “Cage free” means that they aren’t crammed in cases but still living in their

        • Annette Mosier says:

          Cut myself off – is that a sign? haha

          Anyway, cage free is a joke. They’re still stuffed into barns. Free range is also a joke. That just means they get outside sometimes.

          Pasture raised is the ONLY way to guarantee true animal welfare, and the food is 100 times better than “cage free” or “free range”. You think the best meat, milk, eggs etc comes from tortured chickens, cows and pigs? Any woman that has breast fed a child and pumped milk knows how important being relaxed and stress free is.

          These companies are still sh*tty, just trying to convince people they care. They don’t.

          Remember how they live and what they eat, and go pasture raised. Even better, buying pasture raised at your farmers’ market benefits local farmers. You’ll notice a HUGE difference in quality and taste.

  2. Robynne Catheron says:

    I appreciate and am thankful that these corporations are taking steps in the right direction in the name of animal welfare.

    However, any positive action Nestlé takes is negated by the fact that they are selfishly contributing to California’s drought. Nestlé is the epitome of bold and greedy, and couldn’t care less about the welfare of California’s farmers and residents, let alone a million chickens.

    Mark my words, there’s something stinky brewing here, and it’s not rotten eggs. Nestlé doesn’t do ANYTHING unless there is a huge profit in store.

  3. Gail Magner says:

    This is still taking too long, why not immediately? Who follows up on this, 2020 is four years away! STOP FACTORY FARMING.

  4. Christine Gabrick says:

    I don’t eat eggs because of chick culling.Can you please tell me this method is or is not free of chick culling?

    • Annette says:

      United Egg Producers is outlawing the practice by 2020. You know about them I expect, being aware of not eating eggs chicken, ice cream, meatloaf, mayonnaise, salad dressing, baked goods, custard, crepes, waffles, pasta, lollipops, marshmallows, soup, wine, frosting… I’m impressed you can do it! I do as much as I can from scratch w local pasture raised and it is NOT easy. I keep that list in my kitchen – it’s much more than that of course but the regular things I make. Kudos! You’re my inspiration.

  5. Beverly Wells says:

    I too would like to know why it is taking so long to get the hens out of the cages?

  6. Rubby Tyus says:

    WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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