July 13, 2016
Tesco Commits to Exclusively Source 100% Cage-Free Eggs by 2025
The Humane League drives progress in largest retailer in the United Kingdom
(Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire – July 13, 2016) – Tesco announced today that it will source 100% cage-free eggs by 2025. The decision directly follows extensive conversations and with The Humane League, an international farmed animal protection group. Tesco is the United Kingdom’s largest retailer and the fifth largest retailer in the world by annual, systemwide sales. The new policy will affect the 1.4 billion eggs Tesco sells each year in the UK.
The commitment comes after international farmed animal protection nonprofit The Humane League approached Tesco with a request for the company to deliver a cage-free egg purchasing policy for its UK operations. Prior to these in-depth conversations, a young girl petitioned the company to go cage-free and received thousands of signatures. Noting the overwhelming support of cage-free products by consumers in the United Kingdom, The Humane League engaged in productive, private dialogue with the company’s leadership to produce a firm timeline. Crammed one after another into cruel cages, most egg-laying hens are only given space about the size of an iPad on which to live their entire lives. Many hens do not survive these harsh conditions, and those who do may be forced to live for years on top of dead cage mates. These farms also pose a threat to human health, as they increase the risk of exposure to dangerous pathogens such as Salmonella.
While a number of Tesco’s competitors have previously produced policies to switch to cage-free or free range eggs, such as Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, and The Co-operative, Tesco accounts for 28% of the retail market in the United Kingdom, and this decision sets a new precedent for all other retailers and food companies in the country. Securing over $104 billion USD in sales in fiscal 2015, Tesco’s commitment distinguishes the company as the largest retailer in Europe to commit to eliminating cages entirely from its supply chain. The new policy will affect all eggs sold in its over 3,500 stores across the United Kingdom. Tesco also operates thousands of stores in other countries across Asia and Europe, including Thailand, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey, Slovakia, Ireland, China, Malaysia, and India.
“Tesco’s commitment to source exclusively cage-free eggs is an important step in reducing the suffering of farm animals in the United Kingdom,” said David Coman-Hidy, Executive Director for The Humane League. "We believe that in the near future every major European company will make the same commitment to phase out cages, just as we see happening in the United States."
Tesco’s cage-free announcement comes amidst The Humane League’s success in influencing a wave of major American companies to announce plans to convert exclusively to cage-free eggs in a variety of industries, including Walmart, Kroger, Target, Aldi, Denny’s, Nestle, General Mills, and Costco. Having secured commitments from nearly all major retailers, restaurants and foodservice providers in the United States, The Humane League is globally expanding its cage-free campaigns to eliminate cruel cages from the egg industry worldwide. In the recent past, The Humane League has already secured global cage-free commitments from PepsiCo, Grupo Bimbo, Unilever, Carnival Cruises, and Starwood Hotels. The Humane League is also responsible for United Egg Producer’s commitment to eliminate the culling of male chicks in the United States, a decision that will prevent the suffering of 260 million chicks and 960,000 hens each year.