Rose Acre puts cage-free housing construction on hold
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Ivaylo Georgiev, Freeimages.com
Because consumer demand for more expensive cage-free eggs remains low and a glut of cage-free eggs exists, Rose Acre Farms is at least temporarily discontinuing the addition of cage-free laying systems, or as CEO Marcus Rust put it, the company is “shutting [its] construction program down.”
With all major grocery chains and a large percentage of restaurant and foodservice companies committing to only purchase cage-free eggs by a certain date, many U.S. egg producers, including Rose Acre Farms, started transitioning their farms to using cage-free laying systems.
Rose Acre Farms, the second largest egg company in the United States, over the past four years spent about $250 million on cage-free operations and now has about 20 percent of its hens in cage-free housing, Bloomberg reported.
But with consumers still preferring to pay the lower price for cage-produced eggs, it has put egg producers in a position to make decisions regarding whether to continue to add cage-free laying systems, or to put those plans on hold and see how companies follow through with their pledges to source only cage-free eggs.
Cal-Maine Foods made similar decision
Rose Acre Farms is not the only major egg producer to pull back from expanded cage-free egg production.
During its earnings report for the first quarter of fiscal year 2018, which was released on October 2, Cal-Maine Foods CEO Dolph Baker said that because the supply of cage-free eggs is not keeping up with the demand, the company has adjusted its cage-free egg production levels in line with the current customer demand.
Baker added that Cal-Maine Foods was well-positioned to increase its cage-free egg production capacity as demand trends change.
Cal-Maine Foods is the largest egg producer in the United States and in the world.
Cheap Eggs Are Ruining the Cage-Free Movement
The great American egg glut keeps claiming victims, among them millions of hens that won’t be moving anytime soon into lodgings spacious enough for what they lay to be called “cage free.”