Why Our Cage-Free Egg Goal is a Game Changer

April 11, 2019

We’re three and a half years into our commitment to source cage-free eggs, and we’ve transitioned one-third of our egg supply chain to cage-free. But when we first made our announcement, the cage-free egg supply didn’t exist to meet the demand of our 14,000 restaurants across the U.S.– more than 2.2 billion eggs annually. In fact, only 8% of all egg-laying hens in the U.S. were housed in cage-free environments in 2015. *

So instead of waiting for the supply, we set about creating it, partnering with farmers and suppliers to transition hen housing across our supply chain.

Our decision prompted a shift across the industry that’s led to a steady increase in cage-free production, says Kristin Tupa, egg sustainability lead at Cargill, our U.S. egg supplier.

“McDonald’s is working with Cargill and its egg producers to create a supply of cage-free eggs specific for their needs. This effort is helping producers and the industry get down the cage-free learning curve earlier and faster,” Tupa explains.

Following our 2015 announcement, reportedly another 200 companies committed to moving to cage-free eggs.

So what does it mean to produce cage-free eggs? In a cage-free farm, hens are housed in an open environment with multiple levels, different compartments and platforms. The open space allows birds freedom and choice in expressing their natural behaviors such as perching, dustbathing, jumping and flying.

“McDonald’s was exceptionally thoughtful in making a next generation housing decision, undertaking a multi-year review of a number of factors, including the changing expectations of consumers, insights learned from scientific research and ongoing conversations with animal welfare experts and our producers,” Tupa adds.

The result, so far, is more than 726 million cage-free eggs sourced for our McDonald’s U.S. restaurants in 2019. By 2025, we expect to source 2.2 billion cage-free eggs every year.

That’s a lot of All Day Breakfast.

For more on our Cage-Free Egg commitment:

*According to Egg Industry Center