In just over seven years, the global egg business should take a significant turn due to the pressure of the large buyers of this protein. It was not even the regulations or agreements between poultry producers. The power of the market at its best.
Large corporate buyers of this food, either as raw material for their industrial processes or to resell them in large retail stores, will only be sourced from cage-free eggs, by 2025.
And cage-free means exactly that: no enriched cages, much less cages in batteries, which for decades have given the industry so much productive efficiency (as well as suffering for birds, as some people say).
Suffice it to mention that the commitment in this regard is endorsed by dozens of companies – McDonald's, Walmart and Nestlé, the world's largest corporations in fast food, retail and processed foods, respectively.
The course is clear and complaining against that trend is foolish. Large poultry equipment companies are riding the wave and promoting their new product portfolios. The perfect recipe for reinvention: a time period, a commercial motivation and the necessary technology. Isn’t it?
Notwithstanding, there are still doubts in front of such a commitment. The main one came up with the recent announcement by Nestle, which put an asterisk on the fulfillment of its cage-lance commitment in Asia, a continent that seems to be the one furthest behind.
Among the organizations that promote animal welfare, this doubt was not very well perceived, because in their opinion, it would discourage the desire of the Asian poultry producers to undertake the transition. But why did Nestlé say that and what does it have to do with the Americas?
Perhaps the answer is that it not only requires cage-free eggs, but more than anything else, egg products made with cage-free eggs for their standardized industrial processes, which would make the change more difficult.
To put it in perspective, a country like Brazil should not only turn its production model of 95 percent cages (a colossal task for seven years); it also has to ensure that a good portion of these new cage-range eggs are transformed for the needs of the food industry.
In both cases we are really in our infancy. In Colombia, less than 5 percent of all egg production goes to egg products (only 35,000 metric tons per year, about 610,000 eggs). And depending on to whom do you ask, cage-free egg production is a quarter or half of that.
I know that, within cage-free egg producers in my country, there has been a certain approaching of these and other multinationals compromised with zero cages. However, the largest producer has not been contacted yet. In any case, the pathway of the announced transition also happens because those conglomerates motivate the change in their current suppliers, not only in seeking others. At the end, it is his word and they are the first interested in finding how to honor it.
Maybe they think there's still a long way to go before rushing. In seven years we will know if this was serious or had more of public relations than substance. It is not bad faith, doubting is part of making comments as a blogger.
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