This World Egg Day, on Friday 13th October, Humane Society International celebrates the growing number of Singaporeans buying cage-free eggs. The Singaporean cage-free market has grown over the past two years, with at least five brands of cage-free eggs now available at supermarkets in the city-state. A growing number of socially responsible restaurants and hotels are also featuring cage-free eggs on their menus.
Penny Cox, vice president of commercial & marketing at home-grown online supermarket RedMart Limited, says, “Since the launch of RedMart Cage Free Eggs in June this year, growth has been over 20 percent month on month, with August to September growth expected to hit around 30 percent. This clearly demonstrates that there is a real and growing appetite within our customer base for cage-free eggs.”
The majority of egg-laying hens in the world, including hens raised in facilities serving the Singaporean market, are confined to barren battery cages for nearly their entire lives. Given space about the size of a single sheet of paper to live in, each hen is unable to fully spread her wings, much less engage in important natural behaviours like nesting, perching and dustbathing. This kind of intensive confinement leads to physical and psychological suffering.
Major companies worldwide are switching to cage-free eggs over conventional battery cage eggs in their supply chains. The rise of cage-free eggs in Singapore speaks to a global trend of increasing consumer interest in animal welfare. In fact, some of the largest food companies and hospitality chains around the world have made commitments to source 100 percent cage-free eggs throughout their supply chains, including in Singapore. This list includes AccorHotels, Compass Group, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Nestle, Sodexo and Unilever, among others.
Dawn Neo, HSI’s corporate outreach manager for Asia, says, “It is heartening to see more consumers in Singapore embrace higher animal welfare products such as cage-free eggs. By making better food choices, consumers can improve the lives of millions of farm animals.”
People can also eat more compassionately by reducing consumption of eggs or switching to cage-free eggs. It is easy to prepare egg-free versions of almost any dish or dessert, and plenty of egg substitutes and cage-free egg brands are available. HSI advocates compassionate eating – or the Three Rs: “reducing” or “replacing” consumption of animal products with plant-based foods, and “refining” our diets by avoiding products from farms with abusive practices, such as the confinement of hens in cages and choosing products from sources that adhere to higher animal welfare standards.
Supermarket chains in various countries have committed to stop selling eggs from caged hens within the next 10 years or less. These include all major supermarket chains in U.K. and New Zealand, all of the top 25 food retailers in the U.S. and Canada, Woolworths and ALDI in Australia, and many more.