Friday, February 5, 2016

Cara Foods joins cage-free chains

Cara Foods is joining the restaurant chains announcing plans to source all of their eggs from farmers that do not house their hens in cages.

Cara Foods owns Harvey's, Swiss Chalet, Kelsey's and East Side Mario's; it plans to be using only cage-free eggs by 2020.

It was Mercy For Animals, not Cara, that made the announcement Thursday. On Monday Tim Horton's and Burger King, which are under the same ownership, made a similar announcement jointly with the Canadian branch of the international Humane Society. Their goal is 2025.

In the last year, Starbucks, Subway, McDonald's, Wendy's and several other restaurants, retailers, food manufacturers and foodservice companies have pledged to go cage-free at the urging of consumers concerned about animal welfare.

All have been pressured by animal welfare groups, especially the Humane Society of the United States, in a pattern similar to the pressure exerted on hog producers to get gestating sows out of crates.

In that case, farmers will be on the hook for the extra housing costs. In the case of Canadian eggs, it will simply push up the cost-of-production formula and the price the marketing boards will charge consumers for eggs.

But they may already be as high as they can go before imports hurdle the tariff and start grabbing market share.