Food consultancy advocating more cage-free eggs in Asia

30 June 2020 3 min. read

Global Food Partners – a worldwide animal welfare and sustainability consultancy – has partnerd with Aires University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands to offer training on the production of cage-free eggs in Indonesia and China.

The majority of eggs across the globe are sourced from caged hens that are bred and captivated under cruel conditions. As consumers grow more conscious on responsible sourcing and other subjects, the idea of open air breeding of hens is growing increasingly popular, although there are significant barriers to cage-free eggs entering the mainstream.

Global Food Partners has experience with food and hospitality businesses, helping them make their supply chains more responsible, humane and sustainable. According to Jayasimha Nuggehalli, Chief Operating Officer at Global Food Partners, the consulting firm has an extensive track record in cage-free egg production, typically finding that a knowledge-gap is among the primary barriers in the minds of egg producers, alongside cost considerations.

Food consultancy advocating more cage-free eggs in Asia

Production levels in a cage free scenario are much lower, which makes for a supply shortfall and pushes up the price of these eggs significantly. Secondly, most egg farmers lack the skills to operate an open-air egg farm.

Through a training programme set to launch in October next year, Global Food Partners is now looking to address both these issues. The new initiative is a vocational training programme in cage-free egg farming, administered at an Indonesian university in collaboration with Dutch university Aeres.

The on-farm training programme will be administered in the native language of participants, and will require the establishment of a cage-free egg farm on site of the university, which is yet to be selected from a shortlist of three. The centre will house approximately 3,000 birds, and the eggs will serve as a revenue source.

“People who graduate out of this (centre) can get placed on a farm to be farm managers, workers or supervisors,” said Nuggehalli. Participants in the programme can be anyone, from students new to the profession to employees at egg farms, as Global Food Partners looks to bring the skills in the economic segment up to responsible standards.

Southeast Asia

The firm is also eyeing the Chinese market, encouraged by interest from one of China’s most prominent cage-free production units. Making a difference in the Chinese market will be a mammoth step for the firm, given that Chinese eggs account for one third of the global egg market according to the International Egg Commission.

Other markets across Southeast Asia are also making strides towards cage-free production, with Thailand being among the notable examples, where the government is actively engaged in bringing cage-free production up to standard. Interestingly, Nuggehalli noted that growing consumer conscientiousness as a result of Covid-19 crisis might accelerate the shift to cage-free production across the globe.

“We think Covid-19, and pandemics such as this, are an opportunity to sit back and think about what we have done wrong with the food system and how we can put it right,” he said.