McDonald’s, easily the largest name in fast food, is making big news this month by announcing that they will be going entirely cage-free over the course of the next ten years. Cage-free refers to the chickens that lay the eggs used in the breakfast foods sold in the restaurant. By buying only eggs from chickens kept out of small, cramped cages, the eggs will be slightly more expensive for the company, but provide a more natural and guilt-free eating experience for restaurant patrons.

Serving Guilt-Free Breakfast All Day

Perhaps even more exciting than the announcement of where the company’s eggs would be coming from is some of the reasoning behind the big switch. McDonald’s plans to begin selling breakfast all day long rather than cutting off breakfast foods midmorning. This switch will likely lead to a much higher consumption of eggs, prompting McDonald’s to make a big change.

The full transition away from caged hens to the more independent layers will take a full decade. The transition will be done in stages, which is good news for the vast network of McDonald’s egg suppliers. The company is confident that going cage-free is the right choice, however.

"Our customers are increasingly interested in knowing more about their food and where it comes from," McDonald's USA President Mike Andres said in a statement. "Our decision to source only cage-free eggs reinforces the focus we place on food quality and our menu to meet and exceed our customers' expectations."

Improving Ingredients, Improving Companies

McDonald’s has struggled over the last few years as customer preferences have changed. In fact, thanks to companies like Chipolte, the entire fast food industry has been changing. Customers have realized that companies can provide healthy, fresh ingredients just as easily as the less natural ones – or at least it looks that way on the buyer’s end.

Customers are talking with their wallets and they want the good stuff. Restaurants serving fresh, guilt-free foods are bringing in big bucks and taking up significant portions of the market, despite being so much smaller than the colossal companies like McDonald’s.

McDonald’s has responded to the lost profits by making big changes. The menu has been streamlined and already this year McDonald’s announced that antibiotic fed chicken meat would no longer be part of the chain’s menu.

While significant, there are many who are still skeptical as to how McDonalds will actually implement the changes it has announced. Cage-free doesn’t necessarily mean cruelty-free, and a chicken in an over-crowded pen isn’t really that much better off than one in a crowded cage.


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