By Brian Collett — The Hellmann’s food company has hit its target of using only eggs from cage-free hens in all its mayonnaise and other dressings sold in the US – three years ahead of schedule.
In 2010 the company, owned by the British-Dutch conglomerate Unilever, set 2020 as its goal for cage-free eggs.
At the time only two per cent of egg-laying hens in the US were cage-free. Late last year the figure was 7.8 per cent.
Marketing director Russel Lilly recalled: “When Hellmann’s first made this commitment, there simply weren’t enough cage-free hens in America to supply the volume of eggs needed.
“The sheer number of eggs that go into Hellmann’s products, 331 million a year, means we had to completely rebuild our supply chain in order to make our goal a reality.”
The 2016 benchmark report of the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return international group, formed to expose farm cruelty, reported a growing commitment to phasing out battery cages. The group found 77 per cent of companies surveyed have published policies on close confinement compared with 72 per cent the previous year.
That list includes McDonald’s, Starbucks, Tesco and Walmart.
The trend follows increasing pressure from consumers and non-profit organisations for an end to confinement systems, particularly hen cages and sow gestation crates, the metal enclosures in which the pregnant animals are kept standing, now banned in the EU, Canada and nine US states.