The cage-free movement is going strong, quickly enlisting fast-food and fast-casual eateries as followers, and its latest converts are Shake Shack and Nestlé. Announced Monday, Shake Shack has vowed to go cage-free in one year. After discussing the move with The Humane League for a few days, Shake Shack committed to switching all company-owned locations to cage-free eggs by the end of 2015, according to the league's blog. This decision comes after the burger chain received hundreds of messages on social media calling for the switch.
Announced today, Nestlé also joins Shake Shack in pledging to go cage-free. In a statement provided to Eater, The Humane Society of the United States says Nestlé pledged to switch to 100 percent cage-free eggs by the year 2020. Seeing as how the company is the largest in the world, this move is sure to have a powerful impact on the egg industry. However, according to Reuters, Nestlé president of U.S. corporate affairs Paul Bakus was quick to reassure consumers, stating in an interview, "At this point, we're not planning on passing through any costs associated with this to our consumers because we're hopeful the costs will be minimal."
Following the announcement, president and CEO of The Humane Society Wayne Pacelle took to his blog, A Humane Nation, to announce the victory. He explained that because Nestlé was composed of "over 2,000 brands" and "[made] nearly $100 billion in annual sales, and uses 200 million eggs annually," this is a big step. Pacelle went on to say, "At that volume, the company's cage-free shift will result in nearly 780,000 fewer birds confined to cages each and every year." The company's senior food policy director, Matthew Prescott, also reacted to the news by saying, "When the largest food company speaks, their suppliers listen."
Shake Shack and Nestlé are joining the fast-growing avalanche of companies that are promising to go cage-free within the next several years. While the demand for cage-free eggs started years ago, it wasn't until the beginning of this year that it began to pick up momentum. The California law banning the sale of eggs coming from caged hens in January started a snowball effect that included Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, and Starbucks, to name a few. Jack in the Box joins the latest cage-free companies like Panera and Taco Bell that made the announcement just last month. Facing pressure from animal welfare groups, the list continues to grow.