Retailers are abandoning caged chicken eggs

By the end of 2021, more than 140 companies operating in the Polish food market have made official commitments to give up cage eggs, and 35 have already done so. These include the largest retailers that have already withdrawn or are in the process of being withdrawn from sale. As a result, the number of laying hens raised in this way is reduced.

– The Otwarte Klatki Association is very positive about the performance of retail chains when it comes to giving up cage eggs. The first network declarations were issued in 2017 and their implementation date is 2025, but we can see that many networks are already implementing them. These are Biedronka, Netto, Kaufland, Macro and also Żabka. Newseria Maria Madej, business relations manager at the Otwarte Klatki Association, says such activity is a very important element of corporate social responsibility strategy.

As a result of these decisions, sales of eggs 2, 1 and 0 increased last year. In nine retail chains: Auchan, Aldi, Carrefour, Społem, Schiever, bi1, Żabka, Biedronka and Kaufland, fresh egg sales accounted for half. At the same time, on the day of publication of the report, the last three nets have completely removed the cage eggs from sale.

– At the end of 2021, we were able to completely abandon the sale of “triple” eggs in the stores of our network, and at the end of the first quarter of this year. We also managed to refuse to sell products containing “three”. – says Carolina Błońska, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Biedronka Network.

He stressed that animal welfare is increasingly included in the responsible business and sustainable development strategies of companies operating in Poland. It is similar to Jeronimo Martins in Poland.

– This is one of the key elements of our social responsibility column, which is a sustainable supply chain. To this end, we are implementing a number of measures, including cooperating with suppliers that use growth hormones, not testing our products on animals, our products do not contain transgenic additives, and we use antibiotics only for therapeutic purposes, says Carolina Błońska.

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Declarations on the phasing out of caged eggs by retailers have a significant impact on the egg industry, as they encourage producers to make changes to the livestock system and invest in alternative farms.

As a result, since 2014, the share of cages in the structure of laying hens in Poland is declining. Aktiw, one of Poland’s largest egg producers, will end cage egg production in 2023 and focus only on alternative chicken production.

– The removal of “triple” eggs from all stores in Poland has an impact on improving the breeding conditions of millions of chickens. In 2014, when no retail chain in Poland undertook to withdraw eggs from cage farming, 12.6% of eggs were grown without cages, ie in bed sets, on free and environmentally friendly farms. chickens. At present, it is already 24.8 percent. This change has been particularly pronounced in the last year. Maria Madej says that from 2021 to 2022, the share of chickens kept in alternative systems increased by more than 4 percent.

– At Biedronka, we were only able to sell cage eggs due to close cooperation with suppliers and their commitment. Our suppliers are aware of the needs of our customers and market trends. Thanks to this close cooperation, we have contributed to improving the well-being of laying hens in Poland, says Martha Kostek, buyer of the Biedronka chain.

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Consumer awareness and public support for the implementation of better solutions for animals and birds is constantly increasing. 78.5 percent of respondents by Biostat More than 81 percent admit that reproductive conditions are important to them. believes that cage farms do not provide chickens with the necessary living conditions.

Consumers always have higher expectations and pay attention to the origin of eggs. More than 75 percent of respondents may pay more for eggs or egg products from farms that provide better living conditions for chickens. They also expect accurate information to help them make informed procurement decisions on the subject. According to a study by Biostat, consumers believe that the trend of abandoning cage eggs should also apply to restaurants and food producers. According to about 74 percent of respondents, restaurants should provide information about which eggs are used in food. 70% The majority of respondents would have preferred cage-free egg products if they had such information.

– It should be noted that according to a study conducted by the Center for Biostat Research and Development in February 2022, more than 60 percent. Poles believe that laying hens in cages should be banned in Poland, says Maria Madej.

Such a ban could appear in the EU market in 2027. Such a solution is being considered in the European Parliament during the ongoing work on new rules that will put an end to the cage breeding of ducks, quails, rabbits, pigs and calves, not only chickens, but throughout the EU. The decision will be made at the end of next year.

According to the Open Cages Association, more than 2,200 companies around the world have decided to give up cage eggs as a result of the Open Wing Alliance international coalition. More than 1,000 phased commitments have been made for this type of egg.

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