Taco Bell Promises To Use Only Cage-Free Eggs In All U.S. Locations By End Of 2016

Another day, another national restaurant chain announcing changes in how it sources its food: Taco Bell is saving itself a spot in the cage-free henhouse, pledging today to use only eggs from cageless chickens in all U.S. restaurants by the end of 2016.

Taco Bell announced that all of its more than 6,000 U.S. corporate and franchise-owned restaurants will serve only cage-free eggs by Dec. 31, 2016. In a news release, CEO Brian Niccol says the company has a “finger on the pulse of not only what appeals to our customers’ tastes but also the issues they care most about,” and according to them, food should be simple.

“Implementing this change at record pace underscores that we are always listening and responding to our customers, while doing what is right for our business,” he added. Translation: customers want it and investors will like it, too.

The company points out that approximately 500,000 hens each year will be happier because of the change, according to the Humane Society of the United States. That group applauded the change in Taco Bell’s news release.

“Taco Bell has catapulted itself ahead of other major restaurant chains. Switching to 100 percent cage-free eggs by the end of 2016 is a tremendous commitment that will quickly improve the lives of countless animals and further cement the future of egg production as being one without cages,” said Josh Balk, Senior Food Policy Director, The Humane Society of the United States.

Taco Bell also confirmed that by the beginning of 2016, it will make good on its pledge to ditch artificial flavors and colors, added trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, and unsustainable palm oil from its core menu items. Aspartame-free diet Pepsi products will also be in all U.S. restaurants in early 2016, the company added.

Taco Bell’s cage-free egg push follows an announcement by Panera Bread that it would be freeing the hens it uses to produce eggs by 2020.