Number of companies sourcing 100% cage-free eggs in China has grown from 50 to nearly 150.

January 22, 2024

3 Min Read

The shift toward cage-free egg production in China continued to gather steam in 2023, with the momentum so pronounced that national poultry industry media outlet Ai Qin She selected “cage-free” as the word of the year for the industry.

“In 2023 there was a significant surge in the number of egg producers shifting to cage-free egg production, making ‘cage-free’ the key word of the year,” said Yan Jianquan, editor in chief of Ai Qin She. The distinction was announced in Ai Qin She’s annual end of year roundup of the biggest trends in China’s poultry industry.

Dalian Luxue, one of China’s largest processed egg products producers and a supplier to numerous international and domestic retail chains, announced the completion of its first cage-free hen house in 2023. “

“Many customers have requested purchasing cage-free eggs from us,” stated Deputy General Manager Xue Jiankuo. “In order to meet market demand, we built our first cage-free hen house and will continue to expand our capacity in the coming year."

Xia Zhihua, sales director of Huaxi, another major China egg producer which began to produce cage-free eggs for the first time in 2023, commented, “Chinese consumers have always favored cage-free eggs, as they are higher in quality. This year we have witnessed a significant growth in demand for cage-free eggs, especially in the B2B sector. By the end of 2023, the number of our cage-free laying hens reached 45,000."

Cage-free egg producer Xinde doubled its cage-free flock from 100,000 to 200,000 hens in 2023 and is on track to more than double in size again in 2024.

“By the middle of 2024, the number of our cage-free layers will reach 500,000, providing customers with an ample supply of high-quality eggs,” said Shilin Manly, vice president of Xinde.

Liu Kaiyong, general manager of egg producer Yongao in Shanxi, which grew its own flock to 200,000 cage-free layers in 2023 and plans a further expansion in 2024, shared a similar sentiment.

“With eggs produced in a cage-free environment, we have received positive feedback from our clients in terms of taste, flavor and safety,” noted Liu. “That is why we continue expanding. Even distributors are taking advantage of the opportunity.”

Also in 2023, well-established Guangdong distributor Tudama made a strategic move into egg production, with an exclusive focus on cage-free eggs. “With two decades of experience in egg distribution, we have decided to allocate the majority of our resources to producing cage-free eggs, aiming to offer our corporate clients and end consumers eggs of superior quality,” said General Manager Cai Huazhu.

The construction of Tudama's cage-free hen houses will ramp up in four stages, and upon the completion of the final phase the number of cage-free layers is anticipated to reach 500,000.

Producers Happy Eggs in Beijing, Tiancheng in Jiangsu, Renjun in Jiangsu, and Xiansen in Anhui are among a number of others that also expanded their cage-free egg production levels in the past year.

“In 2024 several more of the company’s largest traditional egg producers will begin to offer cage-free eggs for the first time, either by transforming existing barns to cage-free or constructing new hen houses, resulting in a significant growth in the availability of cage-free eggs,” said Huang Mutzu, program director at Shanghai-based consultancy Lever China, which helps producers implement cage-free production systems and connects producers with food corporates looking to source cage-free eggs.

Huang and Lever China authored Commercial Cage-Free Egg Production, a technical guidebook to cage-free production published in 2022 by state-owned China Agriculture Press. Over the past three years, the number of companies committed to sourcing 100% cage-free eggs in China has grown from 50 to nearly 150. A nationwide consumer survey conducted by food industry trade media outlet Shi Yan Hui in 2021 found that 60% of Chinese consumers believe food companies should source and sell only cage-free eggs and 68% would be more likely to patronize restaurants, supermarkets and other brands that committed to go cage-free.

Subscribe to Our Newsletters
Feedstuffs is the news source for animal agriculture

You May Also Like