McDonald’s New Zealand has pledged that it will stop using eggs from caged chickens in all its 164 restaurants by the end of next year.
McDonald’s NZ managing director Patrick Wilson said the move was a significant transition for the company and was endorsed by animal welfare groups the SPCA and SAFE.
The move follows a certain amount of customer pressure that the company faced as questions about free range eggs had been one of the most popular queries submitted through its feedback website.
“We realise there’s always room to improve, and by moving away from eggs from caged hens we’re doing what our customers have asked us to do,” Wilson confirmed.
Christchurch and Dunedin McDonald’s restaurants have used only free range eggs since 2009. The free range eggs sold at the 18 South Island restaurants are sourced from family-owned farm Otaika Valley Free Range Eggs near Whangarei, which will increase its supply to McDonald’s. Zeagold Foods in Otago is also undergoing expansion to meet the demand.
Once McDonald’s is completely free range, the eggs purchased by the company will account for about 9% of all free range eggs sold in New Zealand.
“We purchase a substantial amount of eggs a year – nearly 13 million – so in order to keep up with demand, our egg suppliers will be investing significantly in new farms and farming systems,” Wilson concluded.