Aramark’s announcement comes after its commitment last August to eliminate the use of pig gestation crates in its US supply chain by 2017.
Aramark purchases about 30 million shell eggs annually in the United States. Currently, it offers eggs from cage-free hens as an option for clients.
Aramark is now collaborating with the Humane Society of the United State to take the next step, and put in place a plan to source all shell eggs from cage-free hens by the end of 2014.
The HSUS says that Aramark is proving the value of “humane-minded policies” for animals, consumers, and business.
Demand for cage-free eggs continues to increase, Aramark says. On the federal level, the proposed Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments would provide a uniform national standard for the housing and treatment of egg-laying hens.
Aramark’s announcement follows on the heels of similar moves within the food industry. In December last year, Safeway, the second-largest US grocery chain, announced it had become the first major national retailer to require that all of its organic and cage-free egg suppliers be “certified humane” by the nonprofit third-party label organization Humane Farm Animal Care.
In September last year, Dunkin’ Donuts announced plans to switch to cage-free eggs in its breakfast sandwiches and to eliminate the use of pork from gestation crates. In April Burger King pledged to transition its US supply chain to 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2017 and only purchase pork from suppliers that can demonstrate documented plans to end their use of gestation crates.