In its updated Environmentally Sustainable Sourcing fact sheet – published last week – Bakkavor Group has committed to source 100% cage-free eggs and egg products across its operations by 2027, and by 2025 in the UK, its largest market.
London-headquartered Bakkavor – one of the world’s largest manufacturers of fresh prepared food – operates 23 factories in the UK, five in the US and nine in China, with annual sales exceeding $2.2bn.
The producer develops white label goods such as on-the-go sandwiches, ready meals, salads, desserts and pizzas for retailers and foodservice operators in the UK, US and China.
“We have a responsibility to procure the raw materials we use in a way that is as environmentally sound as possible, with concern for impacts on the land, water and biodiversity in their growing and production. In this way, our focus on environmental sustainability not only ensures care for the planet but improves the resilience of our supply chain,” wrote the company in its sourcing policy.
“As a Group, we are committed to working towards 100% cage-free eggs by 2027, and in the UK, our largest market, we are working with our UK customers towards 100% cage-free eggs by 2025.
“As of 2021, in the UK, 77% of our eggs are from cage-free sources and in the US, currently over 50% of our eggs are from cage-free sources. As part of our supply chain engagements, we are working actively with our Group suppliers to increase this each year.”
Bakkavor’s commitment means many own-brands in UK retail – Tesco, Morrisons, Co-op, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Asda; in the US retail – Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter and Kroger’s Home Chef; and in Chinese retail and foodservice – KFC, Pizza Hut, Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Aldi and Marks & Spencer – will shift to containing only cage-free eggs.
The move has been praised by Lever Foundation, which with Bakkavor partnered to draft its cage-free commitment.
“We applaud Bakkavor’s new global cage-free egg policy, which will spare tens – if not hundreds of thousands – of laying hens in China, the US and the UK each year from intensive cage confinement while also boosting food safety for customers,” said Kirsty Tuxford of the non-profit, which works to create a more humane and sustainable protein supply chain in Asia.
Other targets in Bakkavor’s ESG
- Expand supplier management to its US and Asia businesses to replicate its environmental risk mapping;
- Work towards zero net deforestation for its forest risk raw materials (palm oil, soy, wood-pulp based packaging and beef);
- Engage with key suppliers to ensure shared understanding of the responsible use of plastics.
Additionally, in his address in the company’s Modern Slavery Statement issued 2021, CEO Agust Gudmundsson said, “Our stance on human rights is an essential part of [our corporate responsibility] and our values and culture will never be compatible with any form of modern slavery, including across our supplier base. Across our Group, we are committed to retaining the highest standards of employee welfare and safety and we continue to work with our suppliers to ensure they are able to meet the standards required, and that our expectations are understood and upheld.”