Delhaize America, parent company of the Food Lion and Hannaford grocery banners, as well as The Kraft Heinz Co., are the latest companies to commit to selling and sourcing cage-free eggs. Both companies have set a 2025 deadline.
Delhaize America says it will work with suppliers to reach a 100 percent cage-free shell egg assortment. Delhaize America and its banners will work toward a 100 percent cage-free shell egg assortment first in its private brand selection, which accounts for the majority of shell egg sales. They then will continually increase their overall supply of cage-free eggs to obtain 100 percent cage free in all shell egg offerings by 2025 or sooner based on available supply, affordability and customer demand.
“Delhaize America supports continuous improvement in animal welfare practices through its comprehensive approach to sustainability,” said JJ Fleeman, chief strategy and development officer at Delhaize America. “Today’s cage-free egg announcement is another step we are taking to ensure the humane treatment of animals while also reinforcing a number of strong sustainability practices we have implemented across our organization.”
The company will report publically on the number of eggs impacted, with an aim to increase that number year over year.
“Both Food Lion and Hannaford have increased the availability of cage-free shell egg options in both its private label and national label egg offerings and will continue to increase the number of cage-free shell options as quickly as possible based on available supply, customer demand and affordability,” said Fleeman.
Delhaize America works closely with a number of animal welfare consulting groups, including Compassion in World Farming.
“We wholeheartedly applaud Delhaize America for taking these steps today to improve the lives of laying hens,” said Leah Garces, U.S. director for Compassion in World Farming. “We have partnered with Delhaize America during the past two years to consult on a number of animal welfare issues and can attest to the company’s firm commitment to continuous improvement within its supply chain.”
The Kraft Heinz Co. says it will transition to using 100 percent cage-free eggs in all North American operations.
“Reflecting our mission ‘To Be the Best Food Company, Growing a Better World,’ we’re committed to responsible, sustainable practices extending to every facet of our business,” said Michael Mullen, SVP of corporate and government affairs at The Kraft Heinz Co. “Making the move to source our eggs exclusively from cage-free hens builds on progress made by both Kraft and Heinz in previous years and reinforces our continuing pursuit of animal welfare improvements throughout our supply chain.”
Kraft Heinz sources eggs in North America primarily for use within its Sauces portfolio, including for brands like Miracle Whip, Heinz Mayo and Kraft Salad Dressings. The company defines cage-free eggs as those laid by hens allowed to walk, nest and engage in other behaviors in an open area.
“We appreciate the people at Kraft Heinz working diligently to make this commitment a reality,” said Josh Balk, senior food policy director for the Humane Society of the United States. “Many animals will have better lives because of it.”
Mullen added, “Consumers have growing interest in responsible supply chain practices and, with Kraft Heinz products in over 98 percent of North American households, we’re committed to having an ongoing dialogue on the things that matter most to them.”