America’s two biggest grocers say that supply problems will prevent them from meeting previously announced goals for selling eggs from cage-free hens.
Walmart had set in 2016 a goal of 100% cage-free eggs by 2025. However, in a statement updating its animal-welfare policies, it now admits that it is unlikely to reach that goal. Cage-free eggs now are about 20% of sales at Walmart stores and 36% at Sam’s Club.
The report cited cost and availability as the main barriers. As mandates in California and elsewhere for cage-free eggs have gone into effect, demand has soared, driving up prices and making them hard to find. In addition, many states do not allow recipients of some forms of food assistance to use their benefits for cage-free eggs, creating a substantial demand for conventional ones.
Kroger is also backing away from a 2016 pledge to carry only cage-free eggs by 2025. “We do not expect to achieve our 2025 goal of 100% cage-free eggs, given the current rate of supplier transition and our customers’ demand for affordability,” Kroger announced in a statement. It said that since it made the pledge, the proportion of customers buying cage-free eggs has “increased slowly.” Kroger is re-setting the goal to selling 70% cage-free eggs by volume by 2030.