Associated British Foods expands its cage-free sourcing

Food processing company Associated British Foods (ABF) will source 100% cage-free eggs and egg ingredients globally.

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Food processing company Associated British Foods (ABF) will source 100% cage-free eggs and egg ingredients globally.

While ABF already sources a portion of its eggs from cage-free layers, it is expanding its pledge. ABF will source only cage-free eggs in its grocery sector based in the U.K., Asia, Australia and New Zealand, as well as in its ingredient sector by 2025. However, it will not convert its ingredient businesses located in Brazil until 2028.

“With Brazil's cage-free egg industry still in its infancy availability is challenging, so considering this, our ingredient business has made a commitment to sourcing 100% cage-free eggs by 2028,” the company stated in its 2022 Responsible Sourcing ESG Insight

ABF operates across the grocery, sugar, agriculture, retail and ingredient sectors in 53 countries including the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, including China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Its grocery division brands include Ovaltine, Mazola and more.

Not all companies will meet their 2025 cage-free commitments

Many U.S. companies have set their cage-free deadlines to 2025. However, its likely that these deadlines will need to be extended.

To prepare for cage-free pledge revisions, such as the ones Walmart and Kroger made in August 2022, trade association Food Marketing Institution (FMI) and agricultural cooperative United Egg Producers (UEP) partnered with Michigan State University, Purdue University and Kansas State University to conduct a study focusing on the challenges associated with egg producers converting to cage-free housing.

At the marketing organization American Egg Board (AEB) and UEP 2022 Joint Annual Executive Conference, Chad Gregory, UEP President and CEO, stated: “FMI plans to distribute this study to all its members, which includes major grocers that U.S. egg producers are currently supplying. This study will be a credible resource for egg producers to take to their customers and show them why their current cage-free deadline might not be feasible with the current issues the industry is facing.”

The organizations plan to have the results of the study available in the coming months.

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