McDonald’s USA provided an update this week on its commitment to source 100% cage-free eggs by 2025, saying it is making significant progress.
“Our egg supply chain is now 33% cage free, and we will source more than 726 million cage-free eggs for our McDonald’s U.S. restaurants in 2019,” the company said. The total commitment represents more than y2.2 billion eggs per year.
While big change is always a challenge, McDonald’s said when it’s the right thing to do, “you roll up your sleeves.”
The company said this is especially true for the Forsman family, who produces millions of cage-free eggs for McDonald’s USA each week.
“It’s in our blood. It’s what we do,” said owner Gary Forsman, father of Dave and Peter, who represent the third and fourth generations to manage the farm. Additionally, Gary’s daughter Katie and her husband run a company that produces the egg flats for the eggs. The whole family, including many of Gary’s grandchildren, support the family farming business in Howard Lake, Minn.
McDonald’s said the Forsmans were initially hesitant when one of their biggest customers proposed to significantly shift the way they do business.
“As a family, we sat down and said, ‘Are we going to be able to do it?’ We had zero cage-free systems, and we knew this was going to be a big challenge,” said Peter Forsman, who along with brother David, manages the farm’s day-to-day operations.
However, the Forsmans consulted with other farmers and poultry and cage-free specialists across the industry to learn about operations and best practices, eventually building “a whole new farm” to get it right. Peter said the farm overhauled its facilities and completed the transition to cage free for its McDonald’s business in about three years.
Egg supplier Cargill credits McDonald’s with providing support and resources for producers along the way as they tackle this large operational shift.
“McDonald’s works hard to know its supply chain well and understand the challenges producers face,” Kristin Tupa, egg sustainability lead at Cargill, said. “This is important, because together, we are literally creating the supply of cage-free eggs.”
The benefits are apparent, Peter Forsman said, adding, “As we’ve moved forward in this journey, we’re proud to farm in a way that’s good for the birds, that makes our staff proud of the work they do and results in a product consumers love. We’re really proud to be a supplier for McDonald’s, and we hope to continue our family tradition for generations to come.”