More and more retailers are abandoning caged chicken eggs

More and more retailers are abandoning caged chicken eggs
photo: FileedIMAGE / / Shutterstock

More than 60 percent of Poles believe that a study conducted by the Biostat Research and Development Center in February this year should ban the breeding of laying hens in Poland. So far, there is no such top-down restriction in the market, but retail chains do it themselves.

Biedronka did so four years before it was announced. A report by the Open Cages Association shows that other networks, such as Netto, Kaufland, Macro and Jabka, no longer sell cage eggs and plan to join them by 2025 at the latest. Poles support these changes, as a result of which egg producers stop investing in cage farming. In Poland, almost one in four laying hens is now kept on other farms: bedding, free-range and on organic farms.

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 These include the largest retail chains that have already withdrawn or are in the process of being withdrawn from sale.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, as of the date 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 stop selling “triple” eggs in the stores of our network, and at the end of the first quarter of this year. We also managed to stop selling products that contain “three” – says Carolina Błońska, general manager of corporate social responsibility at the Biedronka network.

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.

Consumer awareness and public support for the implementation of better solutions for animals and birds is constantly increasing. 78.5% of respondents by Biostat More than 81% 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 choose egg-free food from non-cage farms, if such information is available.

– 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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