Cage-Free Eggs Are Out, Pastured Ones In As Tastes Change, Again Lydia Mulvany & Deena Shanker, Bloomberg Dairy
The bar is rising for what’s considered a happy chicken, sparking the hottest trend in the market: the pasture-raised egg. Pastured eggs come from hens that spend most of their time outdoors, dining on bugs and taking dust baths while also indulging in their favorite activities, like scratching and perching. That’s a step up from cage-free, a label that consumers are finding is slightly less idyllic than they may imagine. It wasn’t that long ago that consumer demands for better animal treatment sparked the rise of the cage-free egg. Hens moved from the confines of 67-square inches (170-square centimeters) to the wilds of the barn, with space to walk and stretch their wings — but rarely, if ever, outside. The pasture movement goes further, sending animals outdoors for ample sunshine and space to spread out. Compared with cage free, pasture is tantamount to bird paradise.