The shift is good news for egg-laying hens and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which last year sent one its employees to Krispy Kreme’s annual shareholder meetings to ask the doughnut king to improve its food supply chain. The HSUS had already purchased Krispy Kreme stock in 2010 as a move to encourage the North Carolina-based company to move away from egg suppliers that confine hens in battery cages or other inhumane conditions. At the time Krispy Kreme’s management claimed it would consider purchasing some cage-free eggs in 2012, but had no plan.
Now the company has implemented a cage-free eggs plan, and HSUS Corporate Policy and Supply Chain Manager Kristie Middleton will address Krispy Kreme’s shareholders in Winston-Salem on June 14 to thank the company for making the switch. According to Middleton:
Krispy Kreme doughnuts now come with a little less guilt, since some of the eggs they use will be from hens who at least haven’t been crammed into cages. Consumers care about animal welfare more than ever, and we’re pleased to see Krispy Kreme joining the dozens of major companies that are taking notice of that. We believe the company is genuinely interested in doing the right thing when it comes to animal welfare.
By making the move to cage-free eggs, Krispy Kreme joins other North Carolina-based companies that have moved to a more humane sourcing of its ingredients. Harris Teeter, Compass Group, and Golden Corral are among other NC companies that purchase cage-free eggs. While most consumers think of North Carolina for its tech-heavy Research Triangle and furniture industry, the Tar Heel State also has a large agricultural sector: sweet potatoes soybeans, poultry, eggs–and yes, tobacco–are all experiencing growth thanks to increased demand. Krispy Kreme’s increased attention to its ingredient supply chain will send a signal to both companies and suppliers that ethical sourcing can be net positive not only for a company’s image, but for the bottom line.
Consumers do need to keep in mind that “cage free” does not mean an ideal life of comfort for hens. While their beaks are still often cut off, they do have more room to mosey about than they do in the notorious battery cage operations, and can actually lay their eggs in nests.