In a groundbreaking move towards animal welfare and sustainable sourcing, a recent report by NGO Lever Foundation has unveiled that over 75% of the Philippines’ most prominent hotel groups have made a resolute commitment to embrace cage-free eggs throughout their operations.
The eagerly anticipated 2023 Philippines Hospitality Industry Cage-Free Egg Scorecard evaluated the public policies of renowned hospitality groups operating in the Philippines, encompassing companies with a global presence of at least five hotels. The results are astounding: of the 29 hospitality groups that met the criteria, 76% (a total of 22 groups) have now established a clear timeline to transition to the exclusive use of cage-free eggs.
Over the past eighteen months domestic groups Ascott Philippines, Federal Land GT, SM Hotels and Convention Centers, Araneta Hotels, Robinsons Hotels & Resorts, Alphaland Corporation, Megaworld, Bellevue Hotels & Resorts, Shangri-La Philippines, and Newport World Resort have all set timelines to shift to using only cage-free eggs, while City of Dreams, Okada Manila, Solaire Resort and Casino and Balesin Island Club made commitments and completed the shift to cage-free eggs. These pledges by the majority of Filipino hospitality groups follow similar commitments previously issued by international groups operating in the Philippines including Accor, Best Westerns Hotels, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Radisson, The Peninsula, Wharf Hotels and Wyndham.
“This momentous shift to cage-free eggs across the majority of the country’s hospitality sector reflects both a more compassionate approach toward animal welfare and a move toward higher food safety and quality,” said Robyn Del Rosario, Sustainability Program Manager at Lever Foundation, an international NGO that worked with all of the domestic hospitality companies and several of the international groups on their commitments. “As consumers become more discerning about their food choices, hospitality brands are prioritizing responsible sourcing. A shift to cage-free eggs is an important part of a holistic sustainability strategy, and we hope the last remaining hospitality groups will soon align with this industry-wide shift.”
Only nine of the hotel groups surveyed have so far failed to set a timeline for ending the use of caged eggs in the Philippines: Hotel 101, Ayala Land Hotels and Resorts Corp., Eco Hotels Philippines, Discovery Hospitality, PHINMA Hospitality, Diamond Hotels Philippines, Chroma Driven Hospitality, Astoria Hotels and Resorts and Rizal Park Hotel.
Animal protection and food safety organizations worldwide encourage a switch to cage-free eggs, citing their benefits for both animals and consumers. The confinement of hens in minuscule spaces within battery farms restricts their natural behavior and results in undue suffering. Notably, extensive research conducted by esteemed institutions, including the European Food Safety Authority, has revealed a startling finding: cage egg farms are up to 25 times more susceptible to key strains of salmonella compared to cage-free farms. This mounting concern has prompted proactive measures in countries such as the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, India, and specific regions in the United States, which have already implemented bans on battery cage egg production.
In response to this growing global trend, many hospitality, retail, food service, and packaged food brands have pledged to exclusively use cage-free eggs in the Philippines and throughout Southeast Asia. Recognizing the significance of this shift, the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) initiated the development of a national Code of Practice (COP) for Cage-free Egg Production in 2020 to support and regulate the growing cage-free egg sector. An increasing number of consumers are also reducing or eliminating eggs from their meals entirely, the most significant way to protect the welfare of hens.