Not only is Kroger, like much of the food industry, going cage-free on its egg offerings, but the chain is working to make them more affordable with the launch of a private label line in its supermarkets.
Kroger Cage-Free Eggs, as the new egg labels are called, build on Kroger’s other private label store brands, namely Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organics, which both offer cage-free eggs.
“This offering is for customers looking for a more affordable cage-free option and will be less expensive than most cage-free eggs available today,” a Kroger spokesperson told Fortune. “We are able to keep the price down by leveraging our scale and packaging the product in a more standard printed carton instead of a more costly upscale label carton that specialty eggs are typically sold in.”
According to Kroger, the chain is the supermarket industry leader when it comes to cage-free eggs, selling six percent more cage-free eggs than the industry average in 2015. It’s expected to be 100 percent cage-free by 2025, on par with other supermarkets and restaurant chains that have recently made similar pledges.
"In order to ensure a smooth transition by 2025, we need to start attracting customers to cage-free eggs now," Mel Bomprezzi, Kroger's VP of grocery merchandising said in a statement. "We remain committed to working with our suppliers during this transition in a way that ensures eggs are readily available, safely produced, and affordably priced for all of our customers."
Kroger’s cage-free eggs are in stores now and at Kroger subsidiaries including Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, and King Soopers where shoppers can find the cage-free eggs offered under those stores’ own private labels.
Cage-free eggs replace the battery cage system that took hold of the egg industry in the last half-century. Caged hens often spend their lives in a space no more than the size of a sheet of paper, with no room to even spread their wings, “caged laying hens are among the most intensively confined animals in agribusiness,” explains the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
While cage-free does not mean hens are given access to outdoors or pasture-raised, it is a step toward more ethical animal agriculture, explains the HSUS, “Unlike battery hens, cage-free hens are able to walk, spread their wings and lay their eggs in nests, vital natural behaviors denied to hens confined in cages.”
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Eggs image via Shutterstock