Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retail chain, will sell 100 percent cage-free eggs in the U.S. by 2025, joining an industry-wide shift toward a practice that’s seen as more humane.
As part of the transition, Wal-Mart and its Sam’s Club warehouse chain will require that its egg suppliers adopt United Egg Producers rules or an equivalent set of standards, the retailer said in a statement Tuesday. Compliance will be checked annually by a third party.
Wal-Mart sells more groceries than anyone else in the U.S., and its decisions typically sway the rest of the industry. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company has offered cage-free eggs since 2001, though not exclusively.
Other companies, meanwhile, have set various timelines for making the switch. That includes consumer-food sellers and restaurant chains such as Taco Bell and Burger King. The idea is to give chickens more room to move around, improving the animals’ welfare.
The challenge for Wal-Mart is transitioning to cage-free eggs while keeping a lid on prices, something the chain said it can do with the 2025 deadline.
“Our customers and associates count on Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club to deliver on affordability and quality, while at the same time offering transparency into how their food is grown and raised,” Kathleen McLaughlin, the retailer’s chief sustainability officer, said in the statement.