Over the past few years, consumers have increasingly demanded more transparency from their food vendors, wanting to know where their food originates and under what conditions it is raised. After graphic photos of sick birds — penned up in tiny cages within massive warehouses — surfaced on the internet, consumer preference began to shift towards cage-free eggs; this trend has since firmly rooted itself in mainstream purchasing decisions.
So significant is this transformation that last year, corporate giants McDonald’s and Walmart both committed to phasing out eggs from caged hens. Although a seemingly straightforward goal, the task will require a monumental effort for reform on every level of the supply chain process — and if successfully implemented, it will have significant impacts on the entire industry. Here’s why it could take more than a decade to completely implement a cage-free system.