After making a highly publicized commitment in 2015 to end the sale of caged eggs in the U.S., by late 2020 Costco—the world’s second largest retailer—had shifted 93% of its eggs to cage-free. While this represented a great improvement in the lives of many laying hens in the U.S., nearly a third of Costco’s stores are located outside the country, with the company having a presence in mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Australia, Canada and Europe. 

In 2018 Lever began working with Costco’s head office on expanding its commitment into a global one that would cover its numerous superstores in Asia and beyond, providing key resources, local market information, and connections with suppliers in Asia to give he company confidence that this shift was possible. As the company dragged its feet on a commitment and public pressure intensified, Costco drew from Asian-American celebrities including The Walking Dead star Eleanor Matsuura and Grammy-nominated musician Steve Aoki, who accused the company of both animal cruelty and discrimination against Asian customers. 

Finally, Costco has now announced it will be ending the sourcing of caged eggs through its entire global supply chain, a move that will spare millions of animals each year from the misery of caged confinement. This commitment is already driving change on the ground; in mainland China, a key Costco supplier is now preparing to shift 50,000 hens into cage-free housing in order to comply with Costco’s new policy.

Costco is now the largest retail group in the world to make a global commitment on this key farm animal welfare issue. The company joins other global and regional retailers that Lever has also persuaded to pledge to end the sale of caged eggs in Asia, including Tesco, METRO, ALDI, CitySuper and CityShop.


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