The manufacturer - owner of brands including Milka, Cadbury, Lu and Chips Ahoy! - also plans on switching to 100% cage-free eggs in Europe by 2025 and claimed it ultimately wants all its eggs to be produced cage-free.
Mondelēz said the timeline to transition to cage-free eggs in North America and Europe was related to expected availability of supply, adding it would continue to talk to suppliers and establish timelines for cage-free production in other regions.
Incentivizing cage-free production
“We’re working with suppliers to incentivize cage-free production," said a spokesman for the manufacturer, which currently uses 100% cage-free eggs in all its European chocolate brands as well as its biscuit products sold in Belgium and the Netherlands.
"That represents about 5% of our egg use in the EU,” said the spokesman, adding from this year Mondelēz was increasing its EU purchases of cage-free eggs to around 15% of total use.
“We’re actually a relatively small buyer of eggs compared with the overall market,” he added. “Eggs would mostly be used in our biscuit products -- Nilla Wafers, for example.”
Impact on the livestock industry
Mondelēz joins a list of businesses including Nestlé and General Mills that are eliminating eggs from caged chickens from their supply chain, Josh Balk, senior food policy director at Humane Society, told Bakery and Snacks.
“Overall, the snack industry is coming to the unanimous agreement that animal welfare is a serious issue to address and switching to cage-free is the top concern," he added.
“Having the near entirety of the food industry switch to cage-free eggs will shift the egg industry from confining almost 90% of hens in cages to eventually not confining chickens in cages at all,” Balk said. “It’ll take time but producers will phase out confinement systems in favor of cage-free.”
Switching entirely to cage-free eggs would bring more jobs for farmers, more family farms, and a shift to a safer food supply, claimed Balk, adding that three of the top four egg producers - Rose Acre Farms, Rembrandt Foods, and Michael Foods - have announced they are switching to cage-free eggs.