McDonald’s will fully transition to serving cage-free eggs at all of its restaurants in the United States and Canada over the next ten years, the company announced on September 9.
The company stated it is making the change the nearly 16,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the two North American countries to meet consumers’ changing expectations.
"Our customers are increasingly interested in knowing more about their food and where it comes from," said McDonald's USA President Mike Andres. "Our decision to source only cage-free eggs reinforces the focus we place on food quality and our menu to meet and exceed our customers' expectations."
"We're proud of the work we're doing with farmers and suppliers to advance environmentally and socially conscious practices for the animals in our supply chain," added Marion Gross, senior vice president and chief supply chain officer of McDonald's North America. "This is a bold move and we're confident in our ability to provide a quality, safe, and consistent supply."
On an annual basis, McDonald's USA purchases approximately two billion eggs and McDonald's Canada purchases 120 million eggs to serve on its breakfast menus, which includes popular breakfast sandwiches, such as the Egg McMuffin and Egg White Delight. Since 2011, McDonald's USA has been purchasing more than 13 million cage-free eggs annually.
"Animal welfare has always been important to us and our customers," added Gross. "Today's announcement is another big milestone building on our work with industry experts and suppliers to improve the treatment of animals."
Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch working with McDonald’s in transition
Herbruck's Poultry Ranch, a family-owned and operated farm in Michigan, has worked with McDonald's for decades to supply eggs. "Cage-free systems play an important role in our work to keep hens healthy and meet the growing consumer demand for responsibly-sourced food," said Greg Herbruck, executive vice president of Herbruck's Poultry Ranch. "We welcome McDonald's actions to continue these efforts and are pleased to join them in sourcing cage-free eggs across their supply chain. We continue embracing new technologies and strategies to ensure our hens are well-cared for."
Previous moves by McDonald’s involving egg supply
In 2000, McDonald's USA was the first food service company to adopt a standard for hen housing systems, which provided more space per bird than the industry standard. In 2010, the company initiated research with the Coalition for a Sustainable Egg Supply to better understand the impact of various hen housing systems on animal health and welfare, the environment, worker health, food safety and food affordability. This research provided important insights into the trade-offs of various housing systems for the company to make informed sourcing decisions.
The chain’s decision to go cage-free follows another recent decision from McDonald’s that would impact its egg supply. On September 1, the company revealed it will provide breakfast items all day long, which includes the Egg McMuffin and other menu items that have eggs as an ingredient. That change will be effective October 6.