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Snack maker Mondelez plans for cage-free eggs by 2020

Mondelez's brands in Canada include Oreo cookies, which marked their 100th anniversary with this giant replica unveiled in 2012 in Toronto. (CNW Group/Kraft Canada)

Reuters — Mondelez International, the maker of Cadbury chocolates and Oreo cookies, said it would stop using eggs laid by caged hens for its products sold in Canada and the U.S. by 2020.

Formed in 2012 by Kraft Foods’ spinoff of its grocery business, including the Christie and Nabisco cookie and cracker lines, Mondelez joins a slew of companies shifting to cage-free eggs amid pressure from consumers and animal-rights groups.

The company, which already uses cage-free eggs in all of its European chocolate brands as well as in its biscuit products sold in Belgium and the Netherlands, also said it would switch to cage-free eggs for all its products sold in Europe by 2025.

“We ultimately want all eggs to be produced cage-free, and we’ll continue to advance conversations with suppliers to establish timelines for cage-free production in other regions, when we have evidence that commercially viable supplies are available,” Jonathan Horrell, the company’s director for sustainability, said Friday in a release.

The decision comes at a time when the food industry is under pressure from groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, Mercy for Animals and World Animal Protection, which have successfully lobbied many companies to adopt animal welfare practices.

Both General Mills, the maker of Betty Crocker cake mixes, and Kellogg said last year they would source 100 per cent cage-free eggs by 2025.

Fast-food companies have made similar announcements. McDonald’s said in September that its 16,000 U.S. and Canadian restaurants would serve only eggs laid by cage-free chicken within 10 years, while Burger King has committed to using such eggs by 2017.

Reporting for Reuters by Ramkumar Iyer in Bangalore. Includes files from Network staff.

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