The tide in our cage-free campaign has now turned in Latin America, with Alsea, a major food retail conglomerate with operations throughout Latin America and Europe, announcing this week that it will switch to 100 percent cage-free eggs.
The new policy, which follows several years of discussion with Humane Society International, will apply to all 3,000 restaurants that Alsea operates in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico (the company also operates in Spain). These include major brands like Burger King, California Pizza Kitchen, Cheesecake Factory, Chili’s, El Porton, Foster’s Hollywood, Italianni’s, Domino’s, PF Chang’s, Pei Wei, Starbucks, and Vips.
In what industry publications have called a “snowballing” effect, HSI has spurred a wave of cage-free egg announcements in recent months. Just a few weeks ago, Grupo Toks, a leading restaurant company in Mexico, announced a partnership with HSI to transition to a 100 percent cage-free egg and crate-free pork supply chain for all of its 226 restaurants. This past December, Grupo Bimbo, the largest bakery company in Mexico and the world, announced a global cage-free policy. In July, Sodexo, the second largest food service provider in the world with operations in over 80 countries, announced its commitment to source only cage-free eggs globally.
This cage-free momentum, which began with nearly 200 major U.S. food companies – including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Walmart – pledging to eliminate battery cages from their supply chains in the United States, is rapidly spreading around the world. The cascade of announcements will get about 270 million hens out of cramped cages over the next few years. The announcements that HSI has worked on will get tens of millions of birds out of similarly terrible living environments.
Our goal is to get more than a billion hens throughout the world out of cages. We know we’ll get there. The days of confining egg-laying hens to small, wire battery cages where they cannot even fully stretch their wings are now numbered – in any and every part of the world. The cage-free movement, which incubated in Europe, has, without question, gone global, and not a moment too soon.