Multinational food and beverage giant Nestlé is the latest company to join the commitment to using cage-free eggs in the United States, with a self-established deadline of 2020. Nestlé’s brands include Carnation, Purina, Coffee-Mate, DiGiorno, Dreyer’s, Gerber, Häagen-Dazs, Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine, Toll House, and Nespresso, among others.
As the largest food company in the world by revenue, Nestlé uses approximately 20 million pounds of eggs per year in its products. As of now, none of its products use cage-free eggs, Pauk Bakus, Nestlé’s president of U.S. corporate affairs told Reuters in an interview.
Like other industry leaders, the company has faced increasing pressure from animal welfare organizations like the Humane Society to make a transition to cage-free eggs, a pledge already made by McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Panera, and the Kellogg Company.
In a statement, Matthew Prescott, senior food policy director of the Humane Society of the United States, praised the company’s decision. “When the world's largest food company speaks, their suppliers listen,” Prescott said. “In the short term, any egg producer would have to be out of their right mind to build a facility with cages.”
Prescott also said that he hoped Nestlé would extend the commitment to its international supply chain, a task that is harder to accomplish as global markets have separate supply chains for which the same timeline would be more difficult to follow.