MILFORD, Conn. -- Subway, the world's largest restaurant chain, has become the first major restaurant chain in the world to commit to serving only cage-free eggs throughout the Asia market. The move, announced by Subway China and reported in state-affiliated news outlets in China late last week, follows similar pledges the company has made in North America, Europe, Brazil and Australia.
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"In Asia, one of our key markets, we have plans to go cage-free and are working closely with our local procurement and suppliers, as well as related government organisations," said Subway China in a statement issued to reporters. The region is increasingly important for Subway: the company has nearly tripled its store count in Asia since 2010, to over 2,400 restaurants.
An undercover investigation of a Subway egg supplier in Taiwan, released in November by U.S.-Asian non-profit Lever Foundation, found eggs and cages smeared with feces and hens with feathers torn off their bodies. Over the past several months Lever Foundation has been calling on Subway to make a change, including through advertising campaigns targeting Subway customers in Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.
While Subway is the first major restaurant chain to expand its cage-free egg commitment to Asia, other companies have announced similar moves. In the past few months Chinese retailer city'super and global hotel chain Hyatt announced cage-free commitments in the region after working closely with Lever Foundation. Hospitality leader Marriott International published a cage-free egg commitment covering Asia one week after Lever Foundation released an undercover investigation of that company's Asia egg supplier, and after the launch of a campaign by the Open Wings Alliance, a global coalition of animal protection organizations. Starbucks, Nestle, Kraft, Kellogg's, Unilever, Compass Group and Pret A Manger have also issued global cage-free commitments covering Asia.
"Market demand is growing faster than the suppliers can convert at the moment," noted Subway China in its media statement. "The good news is there are suppliers committed to converting to cage-free production."
SOURCE Lever Foundation
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