Jack in the Box Inc. announced this week that the majority of its egg supply will be cage-free by 2020, with a full transition expected by 2025. The company said the decision is in response to evolving research on the topic and changing consumer preferences.
The company operates and franchises Jack in the Box restaurants with more than 2,200 restaurants in 21 states and Guam. Additionally, through a wholly owned subsidiary, the company operates and franchises Qdoba Mexican Grill, with more than 600 restaurants in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.
“To help ensure that we remain apprised of issues pertaining to animal welfare, including advancements in research and production technology, we review current scientific literature and trade publications, attend industry conferences, and regularly consult with our suppliers and government and industry experts,” the company said in its animal welfare report. “We also invite leading experts in the area of animal welfare to our corporate offices for discussions, and we tour production facilities to gain a better understanding of prevailing issues.”
The company explained that during the past several years, there has been an ongoing debate surrounding the housing environments of egg-laying hens in commercial egg production.
“Currently, caged layer housing systems utilizing traditional cages provide 67 to 76 square inches of space per bird and account for the vast majority of all eggs produced in the U.S. However, the industry has seen a rapid growth in non-cage systems, which account for an estimated 10% of U.S. production, up from 4% just a few years ago.”
Jack in the Box said it remains committed to working closely with animal-welfare experts and its suppliers on the important issue of animal welfare.
“We must continue to examine the research, to learn from the science, and to challenge our suppliers to identify programs and practices they can implement that maximize to the greatest extent possible the humane treatment of animals used in the production of food sold in Jack in the Box and Qdoba restaurants,” the company stated, adding that it is mindful of the need to balance the interests of all stakeholders in reaching the most ethical and responsible decisions. “This isn't always easy. But our decisions are made in good faith based upon our assessment of what is in the best interests of our guests, our employees, our shareholders, our franchisees and our other valued constituents.