Egg producers predict cages won't go away by 2025
US egg producers responding to the Top Egg Company Survey predict that over half of US hens will still be housed in cages in 2025.
Most major shell egg retailers, restaurant chains, food service distributors and food manufacturers in the U.S. have pledged to switch all of their shell egg and egg products purchases to cage-free by some future date, generally on or before the year 2025. The breakout for how hens were housed in the U.S. in 2017 was roughly 14 percent cage free (including organic), 85 percent in conventional cages and less than 1 percent in enriched cages.
Read the entire report about egg producer predictions exclusively in the February 2018 issue of Egg Industry.
As part of Egg Industry magazine’s annual Top Egg Company Survey, egg producers were asked their opinion of how U.S. laying hens will be housed in 2025. Twenty five egg producers, who currently house 144 million hens, answered this question. The average of the 25 predictions was that 52.6 percent of hens would be housed in conventional cages, 2 percent would be in enriched cages and 45.4 percent would be housed cage free. The predictions for the percentage of hens in conventional cage housing in 2025 range from 15 to 85 percent. The predictions for the percentage of U.S. hens that will be housed cage free in 2025 range from 14 to 80 percent, and the predictions for enriched-cage housing ranged from 0 to 10 percent.
Retailers not cage free by 2025
While most major shell egg retailers have pledged to be 100 percent cage free by 2025, some of these pledges contain language relating to “affordability and availability” of cage-free eggs. Egg producers were asked to select the statement about cage-free egg sales at retail in 2025 that most closely matches what they believe will happen. Twenty six egg producers who currently house a total of 147 million hens answered this question. Zero egg producers agreed with the statement that over 90 percent of egg sold at retail would be produced cage free. Ten egg producers agreed with the statement that between 50 and 90 percent of eggs sold at retail would be produced cage free. Sixteen of the respondents agreed with statements that said that less than half of eggs sold at retail in 2025 would be produced cage free, with seven predicting that less than 30 percent of eggs sold at retail in 2025 would be produced cage free.