North America’s largest chain restaurant has pledged to source all of the eggs for its nearly 16,000 restaurants in Canada and the U.S. from cage-free chicken farms. McDonald’s announced today that it will completely transition to cage-free or “free-run” eggs within the next 10 years.
“Our guests increasingly tell us they appreciate the efforts we go to in responsibly sourcing high quality ingredients,” said John Betts, President and CEO, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited. “Our decision to source 100 percent Canadian cage-free eggs reinforces the focus we’re placing on our food and menu to meet our guests’ changing expectations, allowing them to feel even better about the food they enjoy at our restaurants.”
The company purchases approximately 120 million eggs from Canadian farmers annually. McDonald’s USA buys about 2 billion eggs each year. As of the announcement on Wednesday, the McDonald’s Canada said it will begin sourcing five percent cage-free eggs.
The company also says it will work with producers and industry to ensure a sustainable supply of cage-free eggs.
“We’re proud of the work we’re doing with suppliers and farmers to further advance environmentally and socially conscious practices for the animals in our supply chain,” said Marion Gross, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America Supply Chain. “This is a bold move and we’re confident in our ability to provide a quality, safe, and consistent supply.”
The commitment by McDonald’s raises several questions for the egg industry: is there enough cage-free production if mainstream giants like McDonald’s are demanding cage-free eggs? Will farmers be expected to bear the cost of decreased production efficiency in cage-free systems versus traditional or enriched cage housing systems?
Stay tuned for more on RealAg on what this means for Canadian egg farmers.