Nestlé urges EU animal welfare overhaul as it reaches cage-free egg targets
18 Mar 2021 --- Nestlé is now using only cage-free eggs in all its food products in Europe, addressing consumers’ growing demand for ethical and premium F&B.
Now the Swiss food giant is calling on EU policymakers to phase out cages in animal farming, starting with laying hens.
The milestone is part of a pledge Nestlé made in 2017 to source only cage-free eggs for its food products globally by 2025, beginning with the US and Europe.
Today, Nestlé uses approximately 4,500 tons of eggs annually in Europe for its food brands, including mayonnaise from Thomy and Winiary and some vegetarian products in the Garden Gourmet portfolio.
End the cage age
As part of its wider commitment to animal welfare, the company is calling on EU policymakers to phase out cages in animal farming.
Nestlé is petitioning the EU in collaboration with Compassion in World Farming and leading food companies, such as Mondelēz, Unilever and Ferrero.
“We fully support the Compassion in World Farming initiative to outlaw cages for laying hens,” says Magdi Batato, Nestlé executive vice president and head of operations.
This call was inspired by the European Citizens’ Initiative’s End the Cage Age campaign, which calls for the end of cages in animal farming across Europe.
The initiative recognizes that cage-free systems provide animals with a much better quality of life, and much progress has already been made in switching to cage-free.
In 2018, more than 170 European NGOs joined the initiative and collected 1.4 million verified signatures to become the first successful European Citizens’ Initiative in farmed animal welfare.
Nestlé reports that it is ready to help drive change from within and support the industry in transition.
“Together with civil society, our farmers and customers, we will continue to improve farm animal welfare to drive progress and ensure the highest possible farming standards throughout our supply chain,” says Batato.
Investment in Switzerland
The company has also advanced its investments in Switzerland’s Food Valley, responding to increasing consumer demand for premium coffee.
Nestlé Nespresso is investing CHF117 million (US$126.5 million) to expand its Avenches production center in Switzerland, which acts as Nespresso’ global distribution center.
The product site ships capsules to over 80 countries, and is dedicated to the production of Nespresso Original and Professional coffees as well as Starbucks by Nespresso.
The investment will increase its production capacity, by including three new production lines, and the expansion of its distribution center, augmenting the current logistics capacity.
“This investment speaks of our long-term sustainable business approach,” says Guillaume Le Cunff, CEO of Nespresso.
“All Nespresso coffees sold worldwide are produced in Switzerland. We are very proud to be able to continue to invest in Switzerland and support our economy.”
Growing consumer demand has led to the need to expand Nespresso’s logistics operations in Avenches, ensuring higher turnover in order processing and dispatching, as well as increased production capacity.
Over the past ten years, in addition to ongoing investment in its business, Nespresso has invested CHF 700 million (US$756 million) in its three Swiss-based production centers in the cantons of Vaud and Fribourg.
Nestlé has 11 production centers and 4 R&D sites located in Switzerland.
The expansion of the distribution center is set to start in July and is expected to be fully operational by September 2022. The three new production lines are planned to be operational by March 2022.
While investing in supporting its operations, Nespresso is also committed to its sustainability ambition.
All three Nespresso production centers are “zero waste to landfill” and production processes have been optimized to ensure heat and water are recovered and reused whenever possible.
All of its green coffee is delivered by rail to production centers.
In other sustainability strides, Nestlé has recently highlighted soil quality and dairy sourcing as key areas to prioritize while making steps toward a carbon-neutral 2050.
Edited by Missy Green
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