Hellman’s Mayonnaise Switches to 100% Cage-Free Eggs 3 Years Ahead of Schedule

cage-free egg mayonnaise
iStock/RainerPlendl

Hellman’s Mayonnaise is now made with 100 percent cage-free eggs in the United States, Hellman’s parent company Unilever announced Monday. The announcement was made a full three years ahead of schedule, after Hellman’s pledged in 2010 to be cage-free by 2020.

“They are one of the largest egg buyers to reach the point of exclusively using cage-free eggs, and they were also one of the first companies to announce that they were going to do it,” says Josh Balk, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection for The Humane Society of the United States. “I think that maybe at this point, in terms of the very large, national brands, it might be solely Unilever and Whole Foods.”

This announcement covers all mayonnaise and mayonnaise-based dressings made by Hellman’s using about 331 million eggs annually.

“Hellmann’s and Unilever have proven yet again that doing well goes hand-in-hand with doing good,” said Matthew Prescott, Senior Food Policy Director for The Humane Society of the United States, in a press release. “People want animal welfare assurances when it comes to the food they buy, and Hellmann’s move shows just how in synch the company is with its customers.”

According to Russel Lilly, Marketing Director at Hellman’s, the company had to completely rebuild its supply chain to achieve this goal, which was facilitated by the market shift that occurred in the U.S. after an increased demand for cage-free eggs, particularly amongst large egg buyers.

Hellman’s original pledge was made when only two percent of egg-laying hens in the United States were cage-free. Today, that number has reached about ten percent.

“We are moving fast,” says Balk. “If you look at the trajectory, by 2025 in the United States, it’s likely going to be very difficult to find an egg from a caged chicken anywhere in the country.”

The speed at which Hellman’s was able to achieve this goal is, Balk says, a testament to Unilever’s commitment to animal welfare.

Almost a year ago, Hellman’s simultaneously released an organic mayonnaise as well as a vegan mayonnaise. The latter was surprising to some, after lawsuits between Unilever and Hampton Creek, the producer of Just Mayo, that targeted the word “mayo” as used for an eggless spread. The Hellman’s vegan mayonnaise is known as Hellman’s Carefully Crafted Sandwich Spread.

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Emily Monaco
Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.