Caging hens for the purpose of egg production is widely regarded as one of the worst factory farming practices. Fortunately, companies and consumers alike are driving a global market shift to 100% cage-free eggs. Through EggTrack, a tool by Compassion in World Farming, we will achieve a cage-free future, together.
What is EggTrack?
Major global food companies have committed to going 100% cage-free—transitioning supply chains to source eggs only from cage-free hens by 2026 or sooner. Together, these animal welfare commitments in the US, Europe, APAC, and across the world have the potential to impact the lives of billions of egg-laying hens.
As an animal protection organization laser-focused on ending factory farming, Compassion in World Farming is here to ensure that these commitments are successfully met—on or ahead of schedule.
That’s why we created EggTrack, an innovative tool to track companies’ progress towards their 100% cage-free goals. EggTrack is designed to:
Ensure food companies can and will stick to their cage-free egg commitments;
Encourage transparency in the marketplace; and
Assist food companies during their transition to a 100% cage-free egg supply.
“It is our vision to enable species-appropriate behavior of farm animals. This is only possible if cages become a thing of the past. With our commitment to sell only shell eggs and egg-containing products from cage-free laying hens by 2025, we are taking the first step towards achieving this vision.” – ALDI Einkauf SE & Co. oHG for ALDI Nord Group of Companies
“Ensuring transparent communication is fundamental to allow consumers to discover and know the Barilla world and all our projects and initiatives from farm to fork. With this objective, the collaboration, and therefore the support, of CIWF through the EggTrack report is fundamental. This report not only promotes dialogue between producers and processors of egg products, but also gathers and gives voice to the requests of increasingly attentive and aware consumers.” – Barilla
“In 2018, Danone committed to source cage-free eggs and egg ingredients. We are proud to have met this commitment in 2020. This achievement was in no small part thanks to ongoing dialogue with NGOs and partners like CIWF, and to annual reporting that helped us track and share our progress.” – Danone
“The Hershey Company understands the importance of using responsibly sourced ingredients in our products, including cage-free eggs. We are proud of the progress we have made against both our original US commitment and our subsequent global commitment that we will reach by 2025, working with our sourcing partners to secure high-quality, reliable sources around the world. We are well on track to meet our 2025 global goal and will continue to share our progress with all our stakeholders as we move toward 100% across all our products.” – Bethany Fitzgerald, Director of Responsible Sourcing, The Hershey Company
“At METRO we continue to support the cage-free eggs transition through our global Cage Free Eggs Policy and subsequent targets and commitments, which we recently renewed. Through our work with professional customers in the trade, restaurant and hospitality sector, we are noticing a growing demand of cage free eggs. This is great news but also a call for us to continue strengthening our sourcing practices to support it. Moreover, we will continue promoting best practices and improve reporting transparency to support the transition to a cage free egg industry over time.” – Andrea Weber, Corporate Responsibility Director, Metro Group
Our sixth annual EggTrack report provides an expanded view of global cage-free progress—and reveals that more and more food companies are reporting transparently and making measurable progress towards their 100% cage-free goals, despite ongoing supply chain challenges.
Accountability and transparency have never been more paramount. In order to continue to drive the cage-free transition that will improve the welfare of the laying hens in our food system, companies must demonstrate how they are making good on their commitments. Many have risen to that challenge, as evidenced by the highlights from our 20222 report:
Cage-free egg demand continues to increase globally: We have seen an increase in global cage-free commitments from food businesses due to consumer demand for alternatives, as well as welfare issues associated with caged production widely understood and discussed. Last year saw a total of twenty-three new global commitments, with an additional eight announced in 2022 so far. As was the case last year, these have come primarily from the restaurant and hospitality sectors, while retailers and manufacturers continue to lag behind. In 2021 and 2022, we saw six new commitments in the restaurant sector, with global corporations such as The Cheesecake Factory and Yum! Brands pledging global cage-free supply.
The transition to cage-free remains uninterrupted amidst inflation and HPAI: Everyone has felt the impact of inflation, yet what is promising to see is that, of those included in EggTrack, 75.4% of companies are still reporting progress on their cage-free transition. Additionally, the poultry industry was directly impacted by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which is a highly contagious disease that requires rapid response and is often fatal to chickens. Through these serious obstacles, companies are continuing their efforts forward with cage-free sourcing and reporting.
Companies transparently showcase their cage-free progress: The overall number of companies reporting continues to increase and progress disclosures are higher in quality and more comprehensive than ever before, with companies publishing regional breakdowns and egg category specifications. Because of this, future iterations of EggTrack will include egg ingredients as a distinct reporting category. Read more on how we plan to define egg ingredients in the Looking Forward section of EggTrack 2022.
232 companies are included in EggTrack this year - 103 operate globally, 52 operate only in North America or the United States, 76 operate only in Europe, and two operate only in Asia-Pacific. Of those, 175 (75.4%) reported progress against their commitments.
An additional five companies are reporting this year, increasing the proportion of companies reporting to 75.4% from 71% in 2021.
139 companies updated their reporting since last year to reflect continued progress against their commitments.
Overall, companies are reporting 79.1% transition to cage-free.
Of the 58 companies with global commitments, 34 companies reported progress (58.6%).
One international company - Famous Brands - reported meeting its global cage-free commitment this past year.
Companies that reported global progress increased cage-free sourcing in their global supply chains by an average of 7.9 percentage points this past year. This means that these companies’ global supply chains now stand at an average of 63.1% cage-free (55.2% in 2021).
United States/North America
Of the 118 companies with US or North American commitments (as part of a regional or global commitment), 79 companies reported progress (66.9%) (61% in 2021).
Three companies reported meeting US or North American commitments this past year.
Companies that reported US or North American progress increased cage-free sourcing in those supply chains by an average of 2.0 percentage points this past year. This means that these companies’ US/North American supply chains now stand at an average of 73.4% cage-free (71.4% in 2021).
Of the 128 companies with European commitments (as part of a regional or global commitment), 109 companies reported progress (85.2%) (84% in 2021).
8 companies reported meeting Europe-level commitments this past year.
Companies that reported European progress decreased cage-free sourcing in those supply chains by an average of 1.7 percentage points this past year. This means that these companies’ European supply chains now stand at an average of 84.4% cage-free (86.1% in 2021).
Of the 18 companies with Asia-Pacific commitments (as part of a regional or global commitment), 8 companies reported progress (44.4%).
No companies reported meeting either regional or national commitments. For those companies that reported Asia-Pacific progress, their supply chains in this region stand at an average of 67.4% cage-free.
Making progress on the elimination of combination and limited access systems through corporate commitments ensures a smooth market transition and maximizes the welfare of laying hens: Combination and limited access systems are still in circulation and are being advertised as “cage-free” production when doors could be closed to confine birds back into caged production. We encourage all companies to engage suppliers regarding the type of cage-free systems being used or proposed, ensuring that combination and limited access systems are not in circulation.
With rising consumer demand, ongoing company progress, and an increasing number of legislative bans on eggs from caged hens, cage-free is fast becoming the industry baseline. As the world moves towards a 100% cage-free future, Compassion looks forward to our continued work with companies, producers, and industry stakeholders to improve the lives of billions of laying hens.
With the consistent upward demand in cage-free egg production, the future of the egg industry will no longer involve this cruel method of housing. When cage-free houses are well managed, these systems offer birds the ability to express natural behaviors such as spreading their wings, stretching their legs, and even dust bathing to naturally keep themselves clean. The transition away from cages can lead to improved physical and psychological health, eliminating many of the stress behaviors exhibited in conventional production systems. Promoting a positive mental wellbeing is just as vital as eliminating stressful and frustrating emotions from the everyday lives of these animals.
As the global egg industry is shifting to cage-free production, and implementation deadlines are quickly approaching, it is essential that companies effectively collaborate with their suppliers to ensure their value chain is on track for fully implementing cage-free commitments, exclusive of combination and limited access systems, by the expected timeline. We strongly encourage companies to develop roadmaps and publicly report progress toward implementation on an annual basis. Investing in cage-free production, while it does involve capital, is a smart investment, as this global trend is only going to be accelerated by both consumer and corporate demand.
Making progress in shell and liquid egg supply chains is crucial, but we do not want to stop there. Beginning in 2023, Compassion will expand the egg categories captured in EggTrack to include egg ingredients. Thus, we will expect companies to ensure that any eggs used as ingredients in the products they purchase - baked goods, prepared foods, etc. - are also produced in 100% cage-free housing systems. In any future public disclosures, companies should report progress for shell eggs, egg products, and egg ingredients where these types are part of their supply.
Integrating annual progress reporting into a business plan not only assist procurement teams in meeting commitments, but also showcases to stakeholders and investors a company’s dedication to a more responsible business model. Until our food system eliminates inhumane cages, EggTrack will continue to work with both reporting and non-reporting companies to highlight industry leaders and laggards. We look forward to advancing this work with businesses across the industry to improve the lives of billions of laying hens together.
Fund the Tracker
Help fund EggTrack and Compassion in World Farming’s ongoing work to improve the lives of farmed animals!
You can keep this vital tool running by donating to Compassion in World Farming, the nonprofit organization holding leading food companies accountable to their animal welfare commitments through transparent progress reports.