Southeastern Grocers, the parent company to BI-LO, Winn-Dixie and Harveys stores, has committed to converting 100 percent of its private label eggs to cage-free during 2017, and targeting the expansion of that commitment to the remainder of eggs sold by 2025, based on availability.
In 2015, BI-LO, Winn-Dixie and Harveys stores sold tens of millions of eggs from the company’s private label brands, and the grocery chain will be among the first of its size to convert all of its private label eggs to cage-free within a two-year timeframe, according to company officials.
Southeastern Grocers has been progressively advancing its commitment to the cage-free egg movement for years, pledging in 2008 to give purchasing preference to producers of cage-free hens and increasing the amount of cage-free eggs sold. Currently, cage-free eggs represent less than five percent of private label eggs sold, but customers’ demand for them has been steadily increasing.
“In the past two years alone, we’ve seen an average increase of nearly 30 percent in the sales of our cage-free eggs. It’s clear this is both a product and cause that’s important to our customers,” says Michael Bove, group vice president of fresh at Southeastern Grocers.
“We are totally committed to working closely with our vendor partners to achieve our 2025 target, to balance our goals of providing customers with quality products at affordable prices and ensuring we are responsible in our approach to animals and the conditions they live in,” adds Bove. “Sourcing our eggs from cage-free farms is a major step forward in our effort to demonstrate our leadership on animal welfare."
Southeastern Grocers worked with several advocacy groups, including The Humane League and the Humane Society, as its policy was finalized. The company already has an animal welfare policy in place that states that animals raised for food should be cared for and treated humanely, in order to protect their health and the health of those who raise and harvest them.