One of the most effective changes and significant improvements for farm animals has been corporate commitments to ending the use of battery cages, which cause severe and prolonged daily suffering to billions of egg-laying hens worldwide. Among these, pledges from food retailers – the largest buyers of most animal products – have been most crucial. In the U.S., roughly as many eggs are sold through retail as are used by restaurants, food services, and packaged food companies combined. Two years ago, in all of Asia, there was one single food retail banner in one region that had committed to shifting to cage-free eggs. Since then, there have been 21 new commitments—every one prompted by Lever. These include the first retailer commitments in mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan and Kazakhstan.

In addition, as several of the commitments were global pledges, Lever also won what are believed to be the first mainstream retail commitments in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and a handful of eastern European nations: Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Czechia, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova. In total, the retail commitments won over the past year are expected to spare over six million animals each day from the misery of cages.

After several months of negotiations and tireless engagement, in September, Lever secured a commitment from Tesco to go 100% cage-free throughout Asia – the first supermarket chain in Malaysia and Thailand to do so. A few weeks later, City Shop, an upscale retail chain in mainland China, announced its own 100% cage-free egg commitment after working positively with Lever—the first domestic mainland company to make such a commitment.

In October, French supermarket giant Auchan won praise for announcing a commitment to go 100% cage-free in Taiwan, following a year of negotiations and work with Lever. In 2019, Lever also began working with German retail giant METRO – the world’s second-largest cash & carry chain (after Costco), with 100 hypermarkets in China and a major presence in 22 other countries. In late January 2020, METRO made a landmark commitment: the company would go 100% cage-free in all 23 countries it operates in – making this the most wide-reaching retailer cage-free commitment made to date. It represented the first retailer cage-free commitment in the Asian nations of Japan, India, Pakistan and Kazakhstan, and is believed to be the first mainstream retailer commitment in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and eight countries in eastern Europe.

In February, after working with Lever team members in both China and the west to ensure availability and consumer interest, German supermarket chain ALDI publicly shared it was expanding its 100% cage-free egg policy to China, where it had recently opened its first batch of stores.

By continually driving the change in Asia’s retail sector, Lever is committed to ensuring that caged eggs, which are both unsafe for consumers and cruel to laying hens, become a relic of the past and that farm animals are provided with better living conditions.


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