GCAW Highlights the Challenges of Sourcing Cage-Free Eggs

Research published by the GCAW reveals that many of the world’s largest food companies are facing setbacks in their ability to source cage-free eggs.

The GCAW Cage-Free Eggs Global Landscape Review presents the status of global egg production, collating available data on the 40 countries that together represent over 90% of all eggs produced.

This research suggests that just 16% of laying hens are housed in cage-free systems around the world, and that there is extreme variation from one country to another, as seen in the infographics below.

While Germany leads the way with 95% cage-free production, other countries’ output is close to zero – notably across Asia, the Middle East and South America. In China, the largest egg producing nation with a 40% market share, 90% of eggs are still produced by hens housed in caged systems.

This availability contrasts with supply chain demands: some 2,500 of the largest food companies in the world are working to fulfil their public commitments to stakeholders to transition fully to cage-free eggs, many attempting to do so by 2025.

Dr Nathan Rhys Williams, GCAW Secretariat, explains, “Thousands of food companies have committed to transition their supply chains to source only cage-free eggs to improve the welfare of laying hens on a global scale. Whilst there is notable progress in some geographies, efforts must be accelerated for these commitments to be achieved, in line with stakeholder expectations.

“Our research has shown that there are wide-ranging disconnects throughout supply chains that hamper progress, but it’s important to note that these situations aren’t universal. Understanding where barriers to progress lay, and sharing the knowledge and experience gained in geographies where cage-free egg supply chains are working well, are essential steps towards addressing current challenges and achieving the animal welfare outcomes many stakeholders want to see.”  

To support its member companies and the wider industry in moving towards increased production of cage-free eggs, GCAW will be engaging with producers in regions where cage-free supplies remain limited and identify opportunities to provide support in overcoming barriers to progress. The Coalition aims to strengthen synergies across supply chains, regionally and globally, by demonstrating demand for cage-free eggs and exploring how win-win situations for farmers and buyers can be created.

GCAW Cage-Free Eggs in North America - Infographic
GCAW Cage-Free Eggs in South America - Infographic
GCAW Cage-Free Eggs in Africa and Middle East - Infographic
GCAW Cage-Free Eggs in Oceania - Infographic