Top Cage-Free Trends in 2020

December 30th, 2020


It’s been quite the year. Despite the unexpected and unprecedented challenges that 2020 has brought, food businesses have reaffirmed their commitment to do good and have turned these challenges into opportunities to increase impact throughout their supply chains. We’ve seen an increased focus on sustainability and responsible sourcing, especially on food issues, including meeting animal welfare and cage-free egg targets. With respect to cage-free eggs, this year we’ve seen impressive innovation, collaboration, and progress, from Asia to South America.

Below we share what we believe are 2020’s top three trends in the cage-free sphere:

1. Greater focus on stakeholder collaboration, reporting and implementation

Hundreds of food businesses, from local companies to leading multinational corporations, have already committed to source cage-free eggs by 2025, and this year we saw increased attention on implementation, reporting progress, and innovative collaboration with stakeholders.

  • Global Food Partners (GFP) and Impact Alliance launched the world’s first credit trading program for cage-free eggs, to help producers and food businesses meet their sustainability goals, including in challenging regions like Asia. Through the Alliance’s Impact Partnerships program, farmers also receive direct support to transition to cage-free production systems, including on-farm and technical support and training in best practice cage-free egg production.
  • GFP announced the launch of its virtual cage-free management farmer training programme. We are on track to establish cage-free model farms and training centres in China and Indonesia by the end of 2021. Both the virtual and on-farm programmes will provide support for the industry to successfully navigate the transition to cage-free eggs. They will also bring together relevant stakeholders to ensure long-term success, sustainability, and profitability.
  • Compassion in World Farming’s 2020 Egg Track report saw more companies and producers make and report on progress, despite the impacts of COVID-19.
  • The Global Coalition for Animal Welfare (GCAW), the world's first food industry-led initiative aimed at advancing animal welfare globally, published for the first time progress on its members' cage-free egg policies.

2. Increased engagement by producers, governments and key industry leaders on cage-free production

  • Following a successful pilot farm, CP Foods, Thailand’s leading egg producer, announced it will double its cage-free production to 10 million eggs by the end of this year.
  • Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development announced it will launch a new national cage-free standard, in response to increased consumer demand for higher welfare products.
  • Brazil’s Mantiqueira, South America’s largest egg producer, announced it will no longer invest in caged systems, and will expand its current cage-free production from 500,000 to 2 million birds by 2025.
  • The Czech Republic and Slovakia announced a ban on the use of cages for hens, effective 2027.
  • GFP and VIV Qingdao, the leading international Feed to Food exhibition, announced a partnership to support the Chinese egg industry in its transition to cage-free production through a series of learning and training activities, including publications, webinars, seminars and workshops for farmers.

3. More food and hospitality leaders pledge to go cage-free in Asia and Latin America

Major multinational corporations have extended their cage-free commitments to Asia, and new Asian businesses have announced cage-free pledges:

  • Metro Group—one of the largest retailers in the world—announced a commitment to source exclusively cage-free shell eggs in India, China, and Japan by 2027.
  • Burger King committed to cage-free in Thailand and Indonesia by 2027.
  • Asia-based hospitality groups announced cage-free policies, Including Minor Hotels (2027), Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels (2025), Langham Hospitality Group (2025), and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (2025).
  • Grupo Pão de Açúcar—Brazil’s leading retailer—committed to only selling cage-free eggs by 2028.
  • Melia Hotels International, Spain's leading hotel group, with operations across Asia, committed to source exclusively cage-free eggs globally by 2025.
  • Restaurant Brands International (Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes) became the first major restaurant group to announce a global cage-free egg commitment.

Looking forward

With increased attention on accountability and responsible supply chains, we’ll see these trends gain even greater traction in 2021. Below are our predictions for the upcoming year:

  • More multinationals and local players in the food and hospitality industries will commit to cage-free egg supply chains, including in Asia.
  • More egg producers in Asia will expand their cage-free production and new cage-free producers will enter the market in order to access the growing demand for cage-free eggs and gain a competitive advantage.
  • Businesses will increase focus on implementation as they work to meet their 2025 deadlines, especially in emerging and challenging markets in Asia.
  • Continued collaboration between food businesses, their egg suppliers/producers and cage-free production experts, to provide support that producers need to carry out a successful transition from caged to cage-free housing systems.
  • Brands will focus on storytelling and narrating how they’re proactively implementing their cage-free pledges and helping animals and farmers in the process.

We want to help you reach your cage-free goals. To learn more contact team@globalfoodpartners.com, or book a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Global Food Partners is a Singapore-based multinational consultancy that provides support and expertise to food businesses and producers in sustainable cage-free egg sourcing and production. Follow us on LinkedIn or send us a message anytime.

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