Is This the Real Reason So Many Retailers Are Going Cage-Free?

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Making the switch could give companies a profit advantage over competitors
Hen

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The cage-free egg movement is largely the result of a push from consumers and shareholders at U.S. firms.

The influx of announcements of companies pledging to go cage-free, seemingly all at once, might be more than just coincidence. Bloomberg suggests that making the switch sooner rather than later can give retailers an edge over their competitors.

This advantage comes from the fact that consumers usually pay more than twice the price for cage-free eggs, $3.42 a dozen versus $1.31 to $1.45 per dozen, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, cage-free eggs only cost about 15 cents more for farmers to produce, according to Daniel Sumner, director of the agricultural issues center at University of California. 

Maisie Ganzler, chief strategy and brand officer Bon Appetit Management Company, says, “We have reached the tipping point and any companies — be they retailers, basic services or egg producers — that are still fighting this wave are going to be left behind.”

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The cage-free announcements come with a timeline of five years or more. Bloomberg explains that it can take 10 years to build housing for cage-free hens. Because of this, farmers often need to rebuild existing infrastructure or wait for new hens to hatch.