Publix Adopts Cage-free Egg Timeline

Publix Super Markets has committed to a goal of carrying 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2026, making it the last of the major grocery operators to make such a pledge.

“We take concerns about animal welfare seriously, and have been diligently working with our egg suppliers, industry leaders, governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations to better understand the timing of converting our shell egg supply to completely cage-free, while meeting customer demand, remaining affordable, and maintaining animal health and safety,” Maria Brous, director of media and community relations at Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix, told Progressive Grocer. “If the industry moves to cage-free prior to 2026, Publix, and our customers, will benefit from that date as well.”

Animal welfare groups attributed Publix’s belated announcement to pressure campaigns they mounted to highlight its lack of such a policy, an which included full-page newspaper ads, TV commercials and social media activity.

 “We appreciate that Publix will stop selling eggs from caged chickens,” said Josh Balk, senior food policy director for the Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society of the United States. “The future is now more certain than ever that the egg industry’s cage confinement of chickens must come to an end.”

“Publix has taken a significant step forward in improving the lives of farmed animals,” noted Nathan Runkle, president of West Hollywood, Calif.-based Mercy For Animals. “The company’s cage-free egg commitment will reduce the suffering of countless hens and inspire other grocers to implement similar meaningful animal welfare policies.”

Added Runkle: “It’s imperative more distributors and grocers, including Hy-Vee, acknowledge that cramming animals into cages barely larger than their bodies is cruel and has no place in a civilized society. With Publix’s announcement, it’s never been clearer that the days are numbered for companies that sell eggs from hens packed into cages so small the birds can’t walk or even fully spread their wings. Any food company that has not yet adopted a cage-free egg policy is simply out of step with consumer expectations and business trends.”

Many retailers around the nation have already issued commitments to go cage-free, with most setting a target year of 2025.

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