The UK's leading egg producer Noble Foods has committed to sourcing 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2025.
The announcement will come in line with the vast majority of UK retailers and restaurants, who have also pledged the transition by 2025.
The look for alternative production systems will force the egg industry into its biggest change since the introduction of the enriched cage system in 2012; a move which then cost farmers in excess of £400m.
A Noble Foods spokesman said: “Noble Foods has announced a group-wide commitment to supplying cage-free eggs by 2025.
“This announcement comes as the culmination of months of planning to achieve the realities of moving to solely cage-free production.
“Noble has been working closely with its retail partners and the farming community to ensure a smooth transition.”
Cage free growth
Public appetite for healthy eggs has led to an increasing demand for cage free eggs in the food industry globally.
Moreover, food manufacturers are increasingly collaborating with the animal welfare organisations, and such factors are expected to impact growth of the global cage free eggs market positively.
The global cage free eggs market is expected to register a growth of 4.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the projected period, 2017 – 2025.
Pru Elliott, The Humane League’s Head of Campaigns, said it is "truly fantastic" to see that Noble Foods is recognising that cages are a "thing of the past".
“Consumers and concerned citizens across the country have been demanding better conditions for hens in their care,” Ms Elliott said.
“This marks a historic landmark in the UK and it is clear that so-called enriched cages are soon to be consigned to the history books.
“As the UK’s leading egg producer, Noble Foods’ commitment to go 100% cage-free will impact the lives of millions of hens for the better.”
The announcement follows the release of undercover footage by campaign group Animal Equality allegedly showing animal welfare breaches on a Noble Foods farm in Dorset.
The British Egg Industry Council imposed suspensions on the two egg production houses following the footage.