To meet consumers' changing expectations and preferences, US fast food outlet McDonald's will fully transition to cage-free eggs for its nearly 16,000 restaurants in the US and Canada over the next 10 years.
"Our customers are increasingly interested in knowing more about their food and where it comes from," said McDonald's USA president Mike Andres. "Our decision to source only cage-free eggs reinforces the focus we place on food quality and our menu to meet and exceed our customers' expectations."
"A bold move"
"We're proud of the work we're doing with farmers and suppliers to advance environmentally and socially conscious practices for the animals in our supply chain," said Marion Gross, senior vice president and Chief Supply Chain Officer of McDonald's North America. "This is a bold move and we're confident in our ability to provide a quality, safe, and consistent supply."
On an annual basis, McDonald's USA purchases approximately two billion eggs and McDonald's Canada purchases 120 million eggs to serve on its breakfast menus, which includes popular breakfast sandwiches, such as the Egg McMuffin and Egg White Delight. Since 2011, McDonald's USA has been purchasing more than 13 million cage-free eggs annually.
Demand for responsibly-sourced food
Herbruck's Poultry Ranch, a family-owned and operated farm in Michigan, has worked with McDonald's for decades to supply nutritious eggs. "Cage-free systems play an important role in our work to keep hens healthy and meet the growing consumer demand for responsibly-sourced food," said Greg Herbruck, executive vice president of Herbruck's Poultry Ranch.
"We welcome McDonald's actions to continue these efforts and are pleased to join them in sourcing cage-free eggs across their supply chain. We continue embracing new technologies and strategies to ensure our hens are well-cared for."
Hen housing system standard
In 2000, McDonald's USA was the first food service company to adopt a standard for hen housing systems, which provided more space per bird than the industry standard. In 2010, the company initiated research with the Coalition for a Sustainable Egg Supply to better understand the impact of various hen housing systems on animal health and welfare, the environment, worker health, food safety and food affordability. This research provided important insights into the trade-offs of various housing systems for the company to make informed sourcing decisions.
Chicken without antibiotics
The announcement follows other actions announced this year by McDonald's USA to source only chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine by 2017 and to offer milk jugs of low-fat white milk and fat-free chocolate milk from cows that have not been treated with rbST, an artificial growth hormone.