Woolworths Commits to Phasing Out Caged Eggs

Woolworths, the major supermarket chain, is taking steps to eliminate a commonly sold poultry product from its stores over the next few years, in line with its long-standing commitment to sustainability made in 2013.

As part of its ongoing efforts towards sustainable growth, the retail giant will cease production and sales of caged eggs in all its outlets across Australia by 2025. This move reflects Woolworths’ updated Group Animal Welfare Policy, which sets new targets to enhance the welfare and health of farm animals through a responsible operational approach, aiming for a “better tomorrow.”

In accordance with the revised strategy, Woolworths will discontinue its entire range of caged eggs and transition to a complete line of free-range eggs. The company’s Sustainability Strategy emphasizes its dedication to safeguarding animal welfare within its supply chain, recognizing that customers trust them to uphold ethical practices that result in high-quality products.

Woolworths aims to ensure a smooth transition for its popular product range by collaborating closely with suppliers. Approximately half of its stores already offer a fully cage-free egg range, indicating progress toward the goal. The company acknowledges that implementing such a change takes time and has consulted suppliers to provide them with ample time to adjust their production methods.

The decision to phase out caged eggs was initially announced a decade ago in response to evolving consumer demands. However, Woolworths failed to meet its 2018 deadline due to the decision to continue stocking select brands of caged eggs. Nevertheless, Woolworths’ own-brand egg cartons have been exclusively free range since 2015.

The shift from caged egg production to free-range eggs has significantly influenced the poultry industry in recent years, driven by the strong advocacy of animal welfare activist groups. The distinction between the two lies in the methods employed in animal production. Caged eggs come from hens confined in wire battery cages, lacking space to move freely and exhibit natural behaviours, resulting in negative impacts on their physical and mental well-being, as well as the quality of the eggs. On the other hand, free-range eggs are laid by hens living on farms with ample outdoor access during the day and secure housing at night.

Woolworths’ renewed commitment to cage-free eggs has been widely praised by customers, and Coles, another major supermarket chain, also has plans to follow suit in the coming years.

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