The world’s largest retailer plans to transition to a 100 percent cage-free egg supply chain in the U.S. by 2025.
Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. made the announcement Tuesday, saying this step represents a commitment to continuously improving the company’s food supply chain while maintaining the affordable prices that customers expect. Walmart is the latest in a series of food retailers to announce such a transition.
“Our customers and associates count on Walmart and Sam’s Club to deliver on affordability and quality, while at the same time offering transparency into how their food is grown and raised,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, chief sustainability officer at Walmart. “Our commitment to transition to a cage-free egg supply chain recognizes that expectation and represents another step we are taking to improve transparency for food we sell in our U.S. stores and clubs.”
This development supports the company’s continued progress toward its aspiration of achieving the globally-recognized “Five Freedoms” of animal welfare for farm animals in its supply chain and comes on the heels of the company’s commitment to new animal welfare positions.
Highlights of the U.S. cage-free goal include:
• Transition to a 100 percent cage-free egg supply chain, based on available supply, affordability and customer demand, by 2025;
• Require 100 percent of shell egg suppliers to be certified and fully compliant with United Egg Producers Animal Husbandry Guidelines or equivalent standard; monitor compliance via annual third party; and
• Challenge suppliers to use selective breeding practices, innovation and best management practices to improve the health and welfare of laying hens.
Walmart says it will monitor and report on suppliers’ continuous improvement against these metrics through its Sustainability Index, a tool that helps the company track the environmental impact and sourcing of products throughout the supply chain.
Since 2001, Walmart has offered customers the option of cage-free eggs in its U.S. stores. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company says it will continue to work alongside farmers as it moves toward a cage-free egg supply chain by 2025 and will continue to collaborate with suppliers, government agencies, academics, NGOs, animal health companies and veterinary experts to assess and improve how food sold to its U.S. customers is grown and raised.