Leading food conglomerates Focus Brands and Groupe Le Duff release comprehensive global animal welfare policies pledging to source 100 percent cage-free eggs and egg products for all of their restaurant locations worldwide. These critical commitments to improve the corporations’ welfare of egg-laying hens occurred within just 17 days of the launch of public campaigns led by the Open Wing Alliance, a global coalition of more than 80 major animal protection organizations across 63 countries. These new policies are set to benefit countless hens in the global supply chains of Focus Brands and Groupe Le Duff.
Focus Brands, a leading developer of multi-channel foodservice brands around the globe—including Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, Jamba, Carvel, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky’s—operates in more than 6,000 locations in over 60 countries. The corporation released a cage-free commitment for all of its brands and locations globally, agreeing to transition away from battery cages in the US and Canada by 2026 and by 2028 globally.
Groupe Le Duff—a French conglomerate with over 1,300 locations around the world—owns several restaurant and agri-business brands including the French bakery, Brioche Dorée. Groupe Le Duff released a cage-free commitment for all of its brands and locations globally, agreeing to transition away from battery cages by 2025. Groupe Le Duff has agreed to provide annual progress reporting to ensure its deadlines are met.
“We’re pleased to see both Focus Brands and Groupe Le Duff take such a positive step towards improving its treatment of animals,” says Aaron Ross, Vice President Policy and Strategy, The Humane League. “Consumers all around the world have been demanding better, and these companies are taking the necessary action by committing to remove cruel battery cages from their supply chains.”
“Due to the massive size of Focus Brands’ and Groupe Le Duff’s global supply chains, these monumental commitments to exclusively source cage-free eggs will reduce the suffering of millions of hens raised to lay eggs throughout the world,” says Alexandria Beck, Director of Open Wing Alliance. “This policy involves some of the most influential brands—including bakeries that use more eggs than most restaurants. It’s evident that cage-free is becoming the future of the food industry.”
The public campaigns leading up to these animal welfare policy commitments were led by member organizations of the Open Wing Alliance, a global coalition united to improve the welfare of chickens raised in factory farms worldwide. Activists from 80 influential animal protection organizations in 63 countries joined forces to demand better from Focus Brands and Groupe Le Duff on behalf of its customers and the egg-laying hens suffering daily within its supply chains. Thousands of supporters all around the world joined the effort by taking hundreds of thousands of digital actions urging the companies to go cage-free.
Why go cage-free?
On cage farms, a hen is confined in a cramped, filthy cage with six to ten other birds—each with no more than the space of an iPad to herself. The cages are so small and crowded, they cannot engage in their natural or instinctive behaviors. Often, their bodies are caught in the caging, resulting in fractured or broken bones, deformities, and severe feather loss. Some hens, too exhausted or unable to move, end up trampled to death by their cage mates. Eliminating cage systems markedly improves the wellbeing of the hens raised in supply chains. While more must still be done to make long-term changes to their quality of life, this is a significant first step for egg-laying hens.
As consumer demand for cage-free eggs continues to grow, global companies and industry leaders like Focus Brands have been abandoning cages around the world. More than 100 other global commitments to end the use of battery cages have been made by some of the largest companies in the world, including Burger King, Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme, Unilever, Nestlé, Aldi, InterContinental Hotels, Sodexo, Kraft Heinz, Compass Group, Shake Shack, Famous Brands, Costa Coffee, and Barilla.
To learn more about what this policy means for animals, click here. For more information about the Open Wing Alliance, please visit OpenWingAlliance.org. Follow along with the cage-free movement on Twitter @GlobalCageFree.