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Far East: Growing evidence of a move away from cage eggs

Multinational companies with large business holdings in the Far East are increasingly making new commitments to improving the welfare of laying hens.

Dairy Farm International Holdings, which is a leading pan-Asian retailer with interests in 10,000 outlets and 240,000 people, has announced new commitments to improving the welfare of laying hens.

Dairy Farm International Holdings is to transition its Meadows Brand eggs in Hong Kong and Singapore to cage-free. Photo: Jan Willem Schouten
Dairy Farm International Holdings is to transition its Meadows Brand eggs in Hong Kong and Singapore to cage-free. Photo: Jan Willem Schouten

The business is, next year, investing in and launching a new value range of cage free eggs under its Meadows Brand in Hong Kong and Singapore. They have also introduced cage free eggs in all 10 of its IKEA restaurants in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The new range is being introduced to help customers understand the benefits of cage free eggs and will be sold across supermarkets, hypermarkets as well as grocery stores. Thus enabling customers to switch to cage free eggs without fear of large price hikes. The eggs will be available in Wellcome, Market Place, Giant and Cold Storage stores from the second quarter of next year.

By creating demand from customers across Asia for cage free eggs at reasonable prices, and with our earlier commitment to have Own Brand cage free in Upscale by 2028, we are on our way to improving the lives of 600,000 laying hens.”

Lower price as incentive to switch to cage free eggs

The new Meadows range will be priced 20% lower than the average cage free national brands, which Dairy Farm believes will not only provide an incentive to switch from cage to cage free eggs but will also give suppliers the confidence to support more cage free demand and make the switch to cage free production.

Cage and free-range supplement each other
About 60% of laying hens in France are kept in enriched cages. However, the market for cage eggs is shrinking.

Ian McLeod, Dairy Farm Chief Executive Officer, said the 2 initiatives demonstrated the firm’s commitment to helping change the supply chain for the better for laying hens. “By creating demand from customers across Asia for cage free eggs at reasonable prices, and with our earlier commitment to have Own Brand cage free in Upscale by 2028, we are on our way to improving the lives of 600,000 laying hens.”

Cost differential between cage-free laying systems
Moving hens into cage-free environments involves additional costs and new challenges, but egg producers can address these in part by focusing in on 5 factors. Surprisingly there is a large cost differential between types of cage-fee laying systems.

We applaud Dairy Farm for its commitment to transition its Meadows Brand eggs in Hong Kong and Singapore to cage-free and to source only cage-free eggs for its 10 IKEA restaurants in Hong Kong and Taiwan by the end of 2021.”

The move was welcomed by Humane Society International. Julie Janovsky, vice-president of Farm Animals, said the charity looked forward to working with Dairy Farm to implement the important commitments. “We applaud Dairy Farm for its commitment to transition its Meadows Brand eggs in Hong Kong and Singapore to cage-free and to source only cage-free eggs for its 10 IKEA restaurants in Hong Kong and Taiwan by the end of 2021.” Earlier this year, Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL (CP Foods) announced it would double production of 2020’s cage-free eggs to 10m eggs to promote ethical food choices in Thailand and in exports to Hong Kong and Singapore.