- Nestle SA plans to source only eggs laid by cage-free hens for the company's U.S. products by 2020.
- Nestle is now the largest company to have committed to a cage-free eggs policy as pressures from consumers and animal rights groups mount.
- The company uses about 20 million pounds of eggs each year, though none of its U.S. egg supply is currently cage-free, Paul Bakus, president of U.S. corporate affairs, told Reuters.
Nestle's current suppliers back the switch to cage-free eggs, and the new policy shouldn't up the cost of eggs for Nestle too high, Bakus told Reuters.
"At this point, we're not planning on passing through any costs associated with this to our consumers because we're hopeful the costs will be minimal," Bakus said.
As Nestle's biggest market, the U.S. was a priority for implementing a cage-free egg policy. Because international markets have separate supply chains, the company has a more difficult time committing to the same timeline, according to Bakus.
Nestle is the latest in a number of food companies that have pledged to source 100% cage-free eggs in the next several years, including Kellogg and General Mills, both with a deadline of 2025. Costco has been pressured by various parties, including celebrities, to keep its promise to switch to cage-free eggs, though the retailer has not announced a plan yet. Consumers are paying more attention to where their foods and ingredients come from, which has played a role in companies pursuing cage-free eggs policies.