The move will apply to the 400 locations in North America that serve breakfast, Wendy’s says. As part of its animal welfare program, the chain also announced that it’s going to eliminate gestation stalls from its pork supply chain by 2022.
“Animal welfare is a core part of our company’s role as a responsible corporate citizen,” said Liliana Esposito, Wendy’s Chief Communications Officer. “We’re proud of our commitment to move to 100 percent cage-free eggs for our breakfast items and will continue to incorporate evolving best practices in the areas of animal handling and welfare into our supply chain requirements.”
Animal rights groups have come out in support of Wendy’s plan, with Mercy For Animals referencing a recent petition from customers pushing for cage-free eggs that garnered 150,000 signatures.
“Wendy’s has taken a significant step forward in improving the lives of farmed animals. Wendy’s cage-free egg commitment will reduce the suffering of countless hens and hopefully inspire other food companies to do the same,” said Nathan Runkle, president of MFA.
The Humane Society of the United States also commended Wendy’s for joining the cage-free movement.
“We appreciate Wendy’s leadership over the years in creating a more humane supply chain. The company’s cage-free eggs announcement further demonstrates its commitment to ensure farm animals have better lives,” said Josh Balk, the Humane Society’s senior food policy director.
Though Wendy’s is playing a bit of catch-up in announcing its cage-free plans, the move is consistent with what’s been going on across the industry: McDonald’s is moving to using only eggs from cage-free hens sometime in the next 10 years, while Burger King announced in 2012 it’d make that move by 2017. Taco Bell is on the end-of-2016 path, while Panera has a 2020 deadline as well. Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts are on the late end of the restaurant range, with promises to switch to cage-free by 2025.
As for its plan to eliminate gestation crates, Wendy’s first announced it’d be moving toward getting rid of the stalls in its pork supply chain back in 2014.