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‘Largest and longest’ global cage-free campaign a success

Yum! Brands – the world’s largest fast-food company – has pledged to eliminate battery cages and instead source 100% cage-free eggs for its global supply chains in approximately 150 countries and regions worldwide.

A growing concern for animal welfare among consumers is driving a shift towards cage-free eggs as an industry standard, says The Humane League, adding that this cage-free egg policy by a fast-food giant represents both the largest and the longest public cage-free campaign victory to date. Yum! Brands’ hens supply eggs to KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and The Habit Burger Grill restaurants.

Yum! Brands pledges to transition to 100% cage-free eggs across at least 25,000 restaurants by 2026. Photo: Brianna Santellan
Yum! Brands pledges to transition to 100% cage-free eggs across at least 25,000 restaurants by 2026. Photo: Brianna Santellan

Bold cage-free egg campaign

The Humane League said that, for months, members of the Open Wing Alliance have coordinated a “bold campaign” to demand better for the hens whose eggs supply Yum! Brands’ restaurants, including some of the most recognisable restaurant brands in the world, including KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. The international campaign included a protest in Nigeria, which saw its first-ever protest for chicken welfare.

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50,000 locations go cage-free

Founded in Kentucky in the US in 1997, Yum! Brands, the multi-billion-dollar company, now has close to 50,000 locations with a presence in nearly every country in the world. In 2020 alone, Yum! Brands sales exceeded US$ 50 billion, notes The Humane League.

Battery cages eliminated by 2030

The commitment by Yum! Brands will see the complete removal battery cages from its global supply chain by 2030 with the majority of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and The Habit Burger Grill locations making the transition to cage-free eggs and egg products by 2026. The remaining locations will transition by 2030. This new global policy follows closely on regional cage-free policies. Taco Bell officially went 100% cage-free in North America and committed to going cage-free in Europe.

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Transition to cage-free underway

“Yum! Brands pledges to transition to 100% cage-free eggs across at least 25,000 restaurants by 2026, including the US, Western Europe and other markets, across all brands for all menu items and ingredients. In the US, we aim to ensure at least 25% of our eggs come from cage-free hens by the start of 2023, 50% by the start of 2024, 75% by the start of 2025 and 100% by 2026,” notes Yum! Brands, adding that KFC Western Europe, Pizza Hut UK and Taco Bell US and Canada markets have already transitioned to 100% cage-free eggs.

Globally, it says, the company will with suppliers and partners to increase the availability of cage-free egg sources to transition to 100% cage-free by 2030. “In some regions, cage-free supply is currently limited and there is not yet a clear path for the availability of sourcing. Regardless, we are committed to working with our stakeholders to meet this end.”