NEW YORK, Oct. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- World Animal Protection is urging Panera Bread to commit to sourcing 100% cage-free eggs and join McDonald's, Starbucks, General Mills, Burger King, and the many other leading food brands that have already made such commitments. Panera Bread, the popular bakery-café chain, announced in December 2014 that 18% of the more than 70 million eggs in its supply chain were cage-free but has not yet publicly committed to a timeline for moving towards a 100% cage-free egg supply.
As a key part of its call to action, World Animal Protection is inviting consumers to make their voices heard by signing a "Dear Ron" letter aimed at Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich. The letter informs Shaich that customers care about how their food is sourced and that they consider cage-free eggs crucial.
"Panera Bread can and should be an industry leader for animal welfare," says Priscilla Ma, U.S. Executive Director at World Animal Protection. "Panera has consistently stated publicly its commitment to making a positive impact on the foods we eat, to 'food as it should be.' We urge them to fully live up to these values by making the well-being of laying hens a priority and committing to 100% cage-free eggs."
Several top food businesses, including McDonald's, General Mills, Starbucks, and Burger King, have recently committed to sourcing only cage-free eggs. Animal welfare has also become increasingly important to consumers; according to research conducted by ESL Insights for World Animal Protection, 67 percent of shoppers consider animal welfare in their food purchasing decisions, with 42 percent more doing so more today than just five years ago. 83 percent of millennials take animal welfare into account when making food purchasing decisions.
Panera Bread has previously implemented large-scale change for animals by phasing out gestation crates for pigs completely as of 2015. World Animal Protection now urges Panera Bread to make a similarly powerful commitment to the thousands of laying hens in its supply chain, by choosing to go cage-free.
About World Animal Protection
World Animal Protection, formerly known as the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), is active in more than 50 countries. From our offices around the world, we work with businesses, governments, local partners and animal welfare organizations to find practical ways to prevent animal suffering worldwide. For more information, visit www.worldanimalprotection.us.org
About Choose Cage-Free
Through its Choose Cage-Free campaign, World Animal Protection consults with businesses on transitioning to cage-free eggs and empowers consumers to select humanely produced eggs. In 2014, World Animal Protection announced a global partnership with Nestlé to improve the welfare of the animals in its supply chain; that partnership is the first-ever partnership between an animal welfare NGO and a major food business.
 The Role of Animal Welfare in the Food Purchasing Decision, ESL Insights, LLC. Online survey conducted among a nationally represented panel of 1,244 consumers in January 2014.
SOURCE World Animal Protection