cage-free cage eggs retailers benchmark

Retailers ranked: animal welfare benchmark revealed

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The summarized results of the retailer animal welfare benchmark.

The Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) today unveiled the results of its first-ever animal welfare benchmark for Taiwanese retailers.

The benchmark reveals where Taiwan’s six largest retailers stand on phasing out cages from their egg supply chains, and is the product of a field investigation of 63 retail outlets across Taiwan’s six major cities. Its publication comes at a time when public attention is sharply attuned to the need to redefine humankind’s relationship with animals, as the world grapples with the consequences of a crippling global pandemic.

Retailers in the benchmark were assessed according to three key criteria to determine their progress on cage-free sourcing and their commitment to improving animal welfare. The three criteria applied were the proportion of eggs on sale that are cage-free, the presence of a cage-free policy and timeline, and effors to help consumers to identify cage-free eggs (specifically, consumer education initiatives and designated cage-free sections in-store).

The benchmark shows Taiwan’s two biggest local retailers PX-Mart and Simple Mart flunking on animal welfare, coming out on the bottom of the six companies assessed.

Sector leader PX-Mart, which operates over 1,000 stores across Taiwan and last year recorded more than a hundred billion dollars in revenue (NTD), had the lowest proportion of cage-free eggs on offer at just 4% of egg products. Its corporate responsibility report failed to declare any cage-free policy or transition timeline, and its stores showed no sign of consumer education efforts or designated cage-free zones.

PX-Mart rival Simple Mart also fared poorly. Only 7% of eggs on sale at the discount supermarket chain are from hens kept in cage-free housing, depriving customers of the ability to make ethical decisions on animal welfare. Like PX-Mart, Simple Mart failed to receive any marks in all other criteria.

Among the international retailers assessed, U.S.-based COSTCO was the worst performer. While COSTCO stocks some cage-free eggs, only half of the COSTCO stores surveyed in Taiwan offer any cage-free options, and its performance is likely inflated by the fact it only stocks two lines of eggs in Taiwan. Furthermore, the warehouse chain is the only hypermarket assessed in the benchmark to not have published a policy and timeline for its cage-free transition. COSTCO also received zero marks for education and designated zones.

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A life-sized model of a battery cage accompanies the full breakdown of the benchmark results.

French hypermarket duo RT-Mart (a subsidiary of Auchan Retail) and Carrefour were the best performers in the benchmark. RT-Mart demonstrated a strong commitment to cage-free sourcing, with 15 of 41 egg products on sale sourced from cage-free farms (37%), edging out Carrefour at 32%. Both companies have released cage-free policies and set timelines to go cage-free, with RT-Mart boasting the strongest cage-free policy of all of the retailers assessed, unequivocally committing to end all cage egg sales by 2025. While the French retailers both featured in-store education efforts, Carrefour was the only retailer in the benchmark with designated cage-free zones that provide clarity to consumers.

The benchmark also provided new insights into the price of cage and cage-free eggs, challenging the notion that cage-free eggs demand a higher price. Of the 261 egg products identified in the field investigation, three quarters fell between NTD $7 and $12 per egg. 35 cage-free egg products were also priced in this price range, showing that consumers do not necessarily need to spend more to make kinder choices for animals.

Deputy Chief Executive of EAST, Yu-Min Chen, encouraged consumers to consider animal welfare, human health, and pandemic prevention when purchasing eggs, and look out for eggs labelled "barn" (平飼) or "free-range"  (放牧).

"The pandemic has revealed the consequences of our fractured relationship with animals," she said. "It is imperative we change the way in which we treat animals, and resist the urge to choose the cheapest eggs on the shelf."

Media contact

Yu-Min Chen

Deputy Chief Executive

0910-150-908

 

Figure 1: Full Results of the Retailer Animal Welfare Benchmark

Retailer

Cage-free Criteria #1

Product share

Cage-free Criteria #2

Cage-free Criteria #3

Results

Cage-free policy

Timeline

Designated zone

Public education

 

Carrefour

Hypermarket

34 %

Pass

Market

32 %

Pass

RT-Mart

37 %

Pass

Wellcome

10 %

Poor

COSTCO

25 %

Poor

Simple Mart

7 %

Extremely poor

PX-Mart

4 %

Extremely poor

 

 

社團法人台灣動物社會研究會 All rights reserved by EAST 立案證號:台內社字第八九〇九四〇〇號 法人登記證號:105證他字第232號 (02)22369735~6 02-23651701 eastfree@east.org.tw 台北市中正區羅斯福路四段162號3樓之3
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