Walmart, Kroger will not meet 2025 cage-free commitments

Grocery store chains Walmart and Kroger announced they will not be able to supply 100% cage-free eggs by 2025.

Meredith Johnson Headshot
Jiri Hera |
Jiri Hera |

Grocery store chains Walmart and Kroger announced they will not be able to supply 100% cage-free eggs by 2025. The companies made the original commitments in 2016.

In the revised animal welfare statements, each grocer acknowledged the supply issues, the cost of production and the strain that grocer cage-free pledges have put on the U.S. egg industry. The grocers will continue to offer a variety of conventional and cage-free eggs.


In Walmart’s fiscal year 2022, cage-free eggs comprised 20% of total shell egg sales in its U.S. locations and 36% in its Sam’s Club locations. According to Walmart's revised animal welfare commitment, cage-free egg sales are slower than the company had hoped and it is unlikely that it will meet its 100% cage-free egg supply chains goals by 2025. 

Walmart has not set a new 100% cage-free deadline at this time, but it has detailed its plan to continue its cage-free transition in a recent sustainability report. The company plans to invest in lowering the shelf price of cage-free eggs and will continue to promote cage-free eggs through proper shelf space allocation and placement. 


While Kroger stated the proportion of cage-free eggs purchased by our customers has increased slowly since 2016, most of its customers are still purchasing conventional eggs due to price.

Kroger expects to transition 70% of its egg supply to cage free by 2030. The milestones it plans to reach include: 33% by 2022, 41% by 2024, 54% by 2025 and 61% by 2028, depending on consumer engagement.

Additionally, the company plans to invest approximately $45 million in sourcing agreements, pricing, promotions and merchandising to help convert its supply to cage free. According to Kroger's animal welfare policy, it expects its egg suppliers to “advance laying hen welfare in accordance with evolving research and a thorough assessment of outcome-based measures.”

Preparing for more extended deadlines

Its likely that the U.S. egg industry will see more extended or revised cage-free deadlines as 2025 draws closer. To prepare for this, the Food Marketing Institution (FMI) and United Egg Producers (UEP) have partnered with Michigan State University, Purdue University and Kansas State University to conduct a study focusing on the challenges associated with producers transitioning to cage-free housing.

At the 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 research should be completed in the next two months.”

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