Panera Bread recently announced it will slowly phase out caged eggs over the course of the next five years. The move to 100 percent cage-free eggs is just one in a series of initiatives taken by the chain, including the addition of both gestation crate-free pork and grass-fed beef to its menu.
Panera's goal, which was announced in a recent press release, is to phase out caged eggs by 2020, a move that will improve the lives of over 425,000 hens in the restaurant's supply chain.
This announcement is in line with Panera’s history of creating transparency with consumers, who are increasingly concerned with where their food is coming from. “For more than a decade, we’ve been working to reduce antibiotic use and confinement across our supply chain,” said Panera Bread founder and CEO Ron Shaich. “We are committed to transparency.”
Currently, 21 precent of the 120 million eggs Panera Bread uses each year are cage-free and come from antibiotic-free vegetarian hens. Panera also boasts 100 percent gestation-crate free, vegetarian-fed pigs, amounting to 7 million pounds of pork. The chain also says that 89 percent of the 4 million pounds of beef served is grass-fed and free range.
“We are honored to have been recognized as one of the two best performing national restaurant companies in an independent report on antibiotic usage and transparency in September,” said Shaich. “While there is more work to be done, we are within reach of a menu without antibiotics and unnecessary confinement.”
The move to 100 percent cage-free eggs was recognized by Compassion in World Farming, which released a statement following the announcement: “No business with integrity, or a future, is going to let cages or crates stay in their supply chain,” said U.S. Director Leah Garces.
This announcement follows another that the chain made earlier this year. In May, Panera Bread published a list of over 80 food additives that it plans to remove from its menu by 2016.
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Panera restaurant image via Shutterstock