McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks are just a few of the companies who have promised to take steps towards using cage-free eggs in their products.
As of Monday, Taco Bell released an official statement not only committing to use cage-free eggs in their menu, but also agreeing to implement that change faster than other fast-food chains.
Brian Niccol is the CEO of Taco Bell. On the company’s official website, he states:
“We are a brand that has our finger on the pulse of not only what appeals to our customers’ tastes but also the issues they care most about, and they tell us they want food that’s simple and easy to understand. Implementing this change at record pace underscores that we are always listening and responding to our customers, while doing what is right for our business.”
Their announcement outlined that their almost 6,000 locations will serve only eggs yielded by hens in a cage-free environment. This promise will be carried out by the end of 2016.
Taco Bell has also promised consumers that they will be doing away with:
- artificial flavors
- artificial colors
- added trans fat
- high fructose corn syrup
- unsustainable palm oil
These changes are being announced on the heels of some unwanted media attention. Yum! Brands got hit by a report in September. Three of their brands (Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Taco Bell) were all criticized for their sourcing practices by Consumers Union, the Center for Food and Safety and a handful of other groups. The negative mentions caught the attention of animal welfare groups who then ran an online petition. The petition pushed Taco Bell and other brands to make the switch to cage-free eggs.
Their time frame may seem long, but compared to other fast-food brands, Taco Bell is making quick work of their commitment!
Starbucks is taking five years to reach their cage-free eggs goal. McDonalds (who purchases the most eggs in the nation) will take ten years to make the switch. Burger King will be using only cage-free eggs by 2017 and it will be 2020 before Panera Bread will be using entirely cage free eggs!*
Liz Matthews, a Taco Bell executive, ensures customers that they will know exactly what they are eating and that the changes will only improve their menu. She states:
“Ingredient transparency is more important than ever to the next generation of Taco Bell customers. That is why we remain hungry and challenge ourselves to set ambitious yet achievable commitments that make our food better, without ever compromising the flavor that our fans crave.”
It’s exciting to see the changing landscape for fast-food companies. While there is still a long way to go, these commitments to animal welfare are a very welcomed and promising shift.
*Other animal welfare goals for Panera are already underway. The brand only offers pork from pigs that aren’t confined in gestation crates. 89% of their beef is sourced from grass fed, free range cows and all of their poultry comes from chickens that aren’t pumped with antibiotics.