Victory for Hens: Massive Foodservice Company Goes Totally Cage-Free

Aramark, the largest U.S.-based foodservice company, announced today that it would switch to 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2020 or sooner. This move follows competitor Sodexo’s recent commitment to switch to 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2020. Both companies had previously committed to cage-free shell egg policies, but these new policies extend to liquid eggs as well.

Roughly 90 percent of the 280 million egg-laying hens in the U.S. are confined to tiny, wire battery cages so small that birds can’t even spread their wings, walk, or engage in many of their most important natural behaviors. By going cage-free, Aramark—which services dining operations at thousands of colleges, hospitals, and corporate cafeterias nationwide—will reduce the suffering of 770,000 birds each year. Combined with Sodexo’s commitment, which will help 750,000 each year, approximately 1.5 million birds will suffer less in cage-free operations.

Next week, Aramark will release a comprehensive animal welfare policy that will address other animals in its supply chain, including pigs, cows, calves, and chickens raised for meat. In 2012, Aramark committed to phasing out gestation crates by 2017.

Mercy For Animals is proud to have supported the intrepid efforts of The Humane League that led to today’s victory. Our members reached out to Aramark via calls and social media, demonstrating once again that consumers hold the power to effect sweeping changes for animals.

On Monday, one of the largest cheese producers in the world, Great Lakes Cheese, announced a new, industry-leading animal welfare policy after a Mercy For Animals investigation uncovered cruelty in the company’s supply chain. Nestlé and Starbucks, two of the largest brands in the world, enacted comprehensive animal welfare policies in the last few months as well. It’s now time for mega retailer Walmart and restaurant giant Chick-fil-A to make similar meaningful reforms to their supply chains. Ask Walmart to get rid of cruel gestation crates for pigs and ask Chick-fil-A to stop torturing chickens.

Of course, we can help animals the most by simply not eating them. Order your free Vegetarian Starter Guide at