Food

Trader Joe's Commits to Cage-Free Eggs

The corporate commitments to switch to cage-free eggs just keep on coming.

Photo Credit: David Paul Morris/For The HSUS

Trader Joe’s—one of the nation’s largest grocers with nearly 500 locations—confirmed that it’s switching 100 percent of the eggs on its shelves to cage-free. Its locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington will be exclusively cage-free by 2020 (about half its total stores) and all its locations nationally will be cage-free by 2025. The company has indicated that it may accelerate the timeline, and we surely hope it does.

This has been quite a bumpy journey with The HSUS and Trader Joe’s. Back in 2005, after Whole Foods Market became the first major grocer to go 100 percent cage-free for eggs in its supply chain, we waged a campaign calling on Trader Joe’s also to go cage-free, resulting in a compromise where the company committed to switch all its private label eggs to cage-free. According to the company, this resulted in store egg sales today being 62 percent cage-free—very far above the national average.

RELATED: Corporate America Is Becoming More Humane Toward Egg-Laying Chickens: 2015 Was a Major Turnaround

And we were especially critical of Trader Joe’s in 2015, when Proposition 2 took effect and the company decided not to align all of its sales of eggs with the standards called for in the landmark ballot measure. But we’re now pleased that Trader Joe’s has committing to join nearly 60 other major food companies in creating a timeline to get to the 100 percent mark.

With the egg industry shifting rapidly to cage-free and other companies that use both fewer and more eggs than Trader Joe’s having faster timelines, our hope is certainly that the company will work to stop supporting cage confinement of hens at all of its stores as quickly as possible.

We applaud our friends at Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) for being a major part of the effort, along with organizations like Change.org and the Albert Schweitzer Foundation, in helping convince Trader Joe’s to embrace a cage-free future.

Wayne Pacelle is the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller  is The Humane Economy: How Innovators and Enlightened Consumers Are Transforming the Lives of Animals (William Morrow, 2016).