McDonald’s USA and Canada to Source 100 Percent Cage-Free Eggs Within 10 Years
To meet consumers’ changing expectations and preferences, McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) announced that it will fully transition to cage-free eggs for its nearly 16,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada over the next 10 years.
“Our customers are increasingly interested in knowing more about their food and where it comes from,” said McDonald’s USA President Mike Andres. “Our decision to source only cage-free eggs reinforces the focus we place on food quality and our menu to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.”
“We’re proud of the work we’re doing with farmers and suppliers to advance environmentally and socially conscious practices for the animals in our supply chain,” said Marion Gross, senior vice president and Chief Supply Chain Officer of McDonald’s North America. “This is a bold move and we’re confident in our ability to provide a quality, safe, and consistent supply.”
On an annual basis, McDonald’s USA purchases approximately two billion eggs and McDonald’s Canada purchases 120 million eggs to serve on its breakfast menus, which includes popular breakfast sandwiches, such as the Egg McMuffin and Egg White Delight. Since 2011, McDonald’s USA has been purchasing more than 13 million cage-free eggs annually.
“Animal welfare has always been important to us and our customers,” added Gross. “Today’s announcement is another big milestone building on our work with industry experts and suppliers to improve the treatment of animals.”
Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, a family-owned and operated farm in Michigan, has worked with McDonald’s for decades to supply nutritious eggs. “Cage-free systems play an important role in our work to keep hens healthy and meet the growing consumer demand for responsibly-sourced food,” said Greg Herbruck, executive vice president of Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch. “We welcome McDonald’s actions to continue these efforts and are pleased to join them in sourcing cage-free eggs across their supply chain. We continue embracing new technologies and strategies to ensure our hens are well-cared for.”
In 2000, McDonald’s USA was the first food service company to adopt a standard for hen housing systems, which provided more space per bird than the industry standard. In 2010, the company initiated research with the Coalition for a Sustainable Egg Supply to better understand the impact of various hen housing systems on animal health and welfare, the environment, worker health, food safety and food affordability. This research provided important insights into the trade-offs of various housing systems for the company to make informed sourcing decisions.
Today’s news follows other actions announced this year by McDonald’s USA to source only chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine by 2017 and to offer milk jugs of low-fat white milk and fat-free chocolate milk from cows that have not been treated with rbST, an artificial growth hormone.
In addition, McDonald’s USA introduced the Artisan Grilled Chicken patty, seasoned with simple, everyday ingredients and introduced a new contemporary salad blend of romaine, baby spinach and baby kale. McDonald’s is also moving from liquid margarine to real butter on English muffins, biscuits and bagels on the breakfast menu and has introduced a new Buttermilk Crispy Chicken, which uses real buttermilk in the breading. McDonald’s Canada introduced a salad leaf blend, including baby kale, in its three chef-inspired contemporary salads in May 2015.