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Darden Restaurants Commits To Cage-Free by 2027

09/22/2022

Darden Restaurants, operators of the Olive Garden and Long Horn Steakhouse, has committed to sourcing cage-free eggs by the beginning of 2027.  Darden operates 1,850 locations in North and Central America and Asia.  With respect to international franchisees, cage-free eggs will be purchased “as available by the end of 2027”.

 

The announcement by Darden follows similar commitments by Bloomin’ Brands, Restaurant Brands International, Yum Brands and JAB Holdings.

 

Restaurants and food service operations are able to pass on the incremental cost of cage-free eggs over cage-derived eggs to consumers.  The situation is obviously different with retailers that must price according to consumer income demographics.  It is however, significant that commitments by restaurants have extended the previous 2025 date and it is anticipated that further extensions will be announced.

 

Uncertainty over the status and constitutionality of California Proposition #12 and the equivalent ballot measure in Massachusetts has led to a moratorium on new conversions from cages to alternative systems. It is possible that numerous enrichable cages installed during the 2000s may be converted to enriched colony modules as a compromise acceptable to customers and consumers. If California Proposition #12 is declared unconstitutional as conflicting with interstate commerce, many existing aviary units will be operated with closed fronts becoming enriched colony modules depending on markets served.