Panera Bread pledged to use all 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2020 Thursday and became the latest restaurant chain to make the adjustment.
According to Panera, cage-free eggs cover 21 percent of the 70 million hard-boiled eggs and liquid egg whites served in its restaurant this year. The cage-free egg commitment will go as far to include eggs in salad dressings, souffles and sweets, which totals more than 120 million eggs per year.
It will phase out all pigs raised in “gestation crates,” or tight metal pens used on factory farms to confine sows, in its supply chain by the end of the year, according to Chicago Tribune. Last year, nearly 91 percent of pigs in Panera’s supply came from farms that let pregnant sows stroll freely. Panera is looking to buy about 7 million pounds of pork this year.
In an effort to keep moving in the right direction, Panera says that 100 percent of the roasted turkey in sandwiches will be raised without antibiotics by 2016. Roasted turkey makes up approximately one-third of all turkey used in Panera stores.
Panera has already done that with chicken this year and sold most turkey without antibiotics as well.
Additionally, beef cattle will be 89 percent grass fed and free range by 2016. They hit the 80 percent spot at the beginning of the year.
According to Panera CEO Ron Shaich, the company has been trying to rid of antibiotic use and confinement for years. “While there is more work to do, we are within reach of a menu without antibiotics and unnecessary confinement,” he said.
Sara Burnett, Panera’s director of wellness and food policy, agreed. “We think about this as being one way we can be part of a solution to a broken food system in the United States,” Burnett said. “It’s something that’s incredibly important to us.”
Senior food policy director for the Humane Society of the United States Josh Balk said in a statement that Panera “is demonstrating that social responsibility goes hand-in-hand with being a successful national restaurant brand.”
Other restaurant chains, such as McDonald’s, have jumped on board. The fast food chain said in September that it will move to cage-free eggs in Canada and the U.S. in the next 10 years, according to CBS. Subway and Starbucks have also committed to make a change in the coming years.