Since 2012, many businesses throughout the US and Europe have entirely shifted to sourcing cage-free eggs. The majority of stores in the US and Canada, including Walmart, 7Eleven, Kroger, Trader Joe’s, Target, Aldi, and many others, have vowed to stop selling eggs from caged hens by 2025. The same trend is being seen in Europe, with supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda, Carrefour, and others abandoning cages. Yet, some markets are more challenging, so many multinational corporations are hesitant to commit to sourcing 100% cage-free eggs globally. The lack of cage-free farming regulations in some countries and a shortage of cage-free egg suppliers can be significant barriers to improving the living conditions of egg-laying hens.

Lever works to lower these barriers by educating egg producers on the many benefits of transitioning to cage-free eggs and by producing cage-free egg directories by country to ease the transition for corporate supply chains. Even with these resources in place, global cage-free commitments themselves are impactful. They demonstrate a company’s genuine determination to upgrade its supply chain; and they help develop a trend in regions where farm animal welfare is frequently overlooked.

In January 2019, Lever engaged METRO Group, the world’s second-largest cash and carry chain, with reported sales of US$29.4 billion and over 100 stores in 23 countries. Through a series of meetings over several months, Lever worked to secure a landmark commitment from METRO. The company announced it would go 100% cage-free in all countries where it operates. This pledge 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 several countries in eastern Europe.

METRO’s Western and southern European stores will meet the deadline by the end of 2022, with Russia and Ukraine following suit by 2025. Metro’s remaining markets, including China, will transition to cage-free eggs by 2027.

This historic pledge, prompted by pressure from Lever and other NGOs, not only means that hundreds of thousands of hens will now have extra space to roam, dust bathe and stretch their wings, but it paved the way for more companies to end cages globally.


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