In a move that will likely shake up the industry, McDonald's announced that it plans to only use cage-free eggs. According to a press release, the chain will "fully transition to cage-free eggs" at all of its 16,000 restaurants across Canada and the U.S. It will take McDonald's nearly 10 years to be able to go fully cage-free. The New York Times writes that currently, less than 10 percent "of the nation's laying hens [are] housed as ‘cage-free.'" McDonald's USA President Mike Andres explains the decision: "Our customers are increasingly interested in knowing more about their food and where it comes from."
Currently, McDonald's purchases over two billion eggs a year to use across its American and Canadian stores. The NYT notes that is already about four percent of the eggs produced in the United States annually. And that number is set to increase: The chain recently announced that it will launch an all-day breakfast menu nationwide October 6. Many of McDonald's breakfast items, such as the popular Egg McMuffin, require at least one full egg.
This is just one of many ingredient changes McDonald's has announced this year. In March, the chain revealed that it would no longer source poultry treated with human antibiotics and that its milk would be growth hormone-free. McDonald's also notes that it is phasing out liquid margarine in favor of cooking items in real butter.