COMPANIES are continuing to switch away from caged-hen systems to barn and free-range across the world, a new report has revealed.

Compassion In World Farming (CIWF) has released its annual EggTrack report, which asks companies to report on their progress towards cage-free commitments.

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This year the report includes data from 210 companies from around the world, and CIWF says two-thirds have reduced their reliance on shell egg produced by caged hens.

The charity said it had expanded its reach this year and now looked at the global egg market – and it is now asking companies that have made regional commitments to expand them to every region in which they operate.

“Internationally recognised brands like McDonald’s, Subway, Walmart, and Burger King, have committed to eliminate cages in some regions but have yet to extend those commitments across their entire global supply chains,” the report says.

Cage free

EggTrack is now in its fourth year. Companies are asked to disclose what percentage of their egg supply is cage-free before 31 July this year, to be included in the report.

In the UK retailers have notably extended cage-free commitments to include ingredients and egg products. Tesco has said it will be cage-free by 2025, as has Aldi.

Morrison’s moved from 78% cage-free in last year’s report to totally cage-free this year, well ahead of its 2022 deadline.

Egg products

Foodservice operators also feature. Greggs says that 75% of shell and product/ingredient eggs are now cage-free.

And producer/packer LJ Fairburn reported it was 78% cage-free, with a 2025 deadline.

Tracey Jones, director of food business at CIWF, said: This year’s EggTrack report shows that although progress has been made, which is remarkable against the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic, there is still considerable work to be done, especially as we increase our focus at a global level and track commitments for all egg types, not just shell.

“Companies are leading the way on a cage-free future but building a supply chain capable of meeting the 2025 demand for cage-free eggs will take time and cooperation between producers and purchasers.

“It also requires investment into well-designed systems if we are to deliver the expected welfare benefits that can stand the test of time for consumer acceptability.