The business – which owns retail brands including Marie Callender’s and Egg Beaters – has said it is working towards its egg supply being entirely cage-free by 2025.
ConAgra said it uses eggs as an ingredient in many of its brands and currently purchases around a million cage-free eggs a year.
No cost implications
The manufacturer told BakeryandSnacks its cage-free egg purchases had not had cost implications for the business or for its customers and consumers, but added it would continue to “monitor and analyze” this going forward.
“This decision is part of ConAgra’s ongoing commitment to the humane and safe treatment of animals,” according to ConAgra senior vice president and chief procurement officer Chris Stockwell.
ConAgra said its Supplier Quality Program outlined expectations for appropriate animal care, adding it encourages its suppliers to purchase only from farms that comply with industry guidelines such as those established by the USDA and the Food Marketing Institute.
“This announcement reflects the culmination of our ongoing effort to explore cage-free as a viable alternative to traditional egg supplies,” added Stockwell. “We believe that not only is this the right thing to do from an animal welfare perspective, but it also allows us to satisfy growing consumer demand for cage-free eggs.”
Mondelēz also going cage-free
The ConAgra news comes less than a week after Mondelēz International revealed plans to switch to 100% cage-free eggs in North America by 2020, in Europe by 2025, and ultimately across its whole business.
Mondelēz - which currently uses 100% cage-free eggs in all its European chocolate brands and biscuit products sold in Belgium and the Netherlands - added it was working with suppliers to incentivize cage-free production.
Other business looking to eliminate eggs from caged hens from their supply chains include Nestlé and General Mills.