TITLE: Egg producer and egg buyer disconnect - Exploring barriers and levers to increase cage-free egg production in China. AUTHOR: A. Bright. KEYWORDS: cage-free egg production; egg producers; egg consumption; China.
Ashleigh Bright, PhD
First, this report gives an OVERVIEW of China's egg industry and commitments to cage-free production.
Three BARRIERS causing the disconnect are explained: 1. Understanding – Global cage-free egg campaigns have focused on the singular issue of animal welfare. But the concept of animal welfare is not well understood in China and there is confusion about "cage-free" in China's egg marketplace. 2. Cost – Transitioning to cage-free is expensive and comes with considerable financial risk for Chinese producers. And domestic egg buyers are generally unwilling to pay the resulting price increase. 3. Confidence – Egg producers are not confident that food businesses will keep their commitments. In turn, egg buyers can’t always trust claims of traceability and verifiability of their eggs.
Five LEVERS to align egg producers and buyers are suggested: 1. Support and fund initiatives for producers and buyers that are firmly China led and driven. 2. Improve transparency and accountability of cage-free commitments specifically in China. 3. Ensure the term "cage-free" is associated with trusted, premium products addressing multiple ethical and social concerns. 4. Increase market demand by targeting receptive demographics (those more concerned with animal welfare, safe, healthy food, and a willingness to pay a price premium for products addressing these concerns). 5. Focus engagement with multinational grocery retailers operating in China yet to make cage-free commitments.