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Food Union switches from cage eggs to barn-laid eggs in production

Latvia’s leading dairy and ice cream producer Food Union has, in close cooperation with suppliers, managed to switch from using cage-laid eggs to barn-laid eggs in pancake production. Although the use of eggs as a raw material in Food Union production is minimal, evaluating the risks and benefits of switching to barn-laid eggs and egg products and consulting with representatives from Dzīvnieku brīvība (Animal Freedom), Food Union was able to make the change within just three months from the announcement of the decision on March 30 this year. Abandoning cage-laid eggs by 2025 was one of the goals set by Food Union in the company’s Sustainability Strategy.

 Transitioning to sustainable production is first a change in mindset, and only then practical steps on how to do it responsibly, effectively, and economically justified. Thanks to the work with suppliers and the consultations we received from the Dzīvnieku brīvība association, the transition from cage-laid eggs to barn-laid eggs turned out to be easier, faster, and economically justified than we initially assessed. Although the number of products in which we use eggs is not large, the internal team’s responsiveness to do it was an additional stimulus to not postpone this work and complete it as quickly as possible,” comments Ieva Lejniece, Food Union Marketing and Product Research and Development Director.

Katrīna Krīgere, head of the Dzīvnieku brīvība association, comments: “Most people care about animals. They do not want animals to suffer severely and unnecessarily, as is the case with laying hens in cages. Therefore, when companies introduce welfare improvements, everyone benefits – not just the animals, but also consumers and the company itself. This Food Union step is an inspiring example of socially responsible action – an encouragement for other companies to eliminate cruel cages from their supply chains faster.”

As previously reported, Food Union daily produces 400 different dairy products and ice creams for more than ten beloved food brands. The company purchases and uses eggs and egg products in small amounts for the production of six types of pancakes and one cheese product, which is done according to the strict international standards of FSSC 22000 and HACCP. The previous plan was to switch to barn-laid eggs as soon as possible, but no later than the end of 2025, which was successfully completed in just three months.

The Food Union developed Sustainability Strategy covers work in three main directions, defined and based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals: 1) Improving well-being by purposefully and regularly enhancing products, developing new and healthier products; 2) Reducing environmental impact by optimizing production and the raw materials used in the production process and the waste generated; 3) Strengthening a fair social system by improving social conditions through transparent and fair cooperation throughout the value creation chain.

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