Agriculture, April 24, 2024, 12:52 p.m.

CIWF 20 year recognition award

Author: Woolworths

Woolworths is the first retailer in South Africa to receive a Special Recognition Award from Compassion in World Farming for its leadership in championing cage-free systems for laying hens for over two decades.

In 2004, Woolworths was South Africa’s first retailer to make the switch to selling exclusively cage-free eggs as part of the retailer’s commitment to animal welfare and ethical sourcing.  Now, two decades later, the retailer sells over 140 million free-range eggs a year as whole eggs, in baked and prepared foods, and as liquid egg. All of which are produced by hens that spend their days roaming in grassy paddocks (with unlimited access to shade or sunlight and fresh water) where they’re free to do all the things chickens do naturally like scratch, peck and take dust baths; and sleep in spacious, well-ventilated housing by night. This commitment means that around 450,000 laying hens are leading better lives each year.

Another significant milestone in Woolworths’ cage-free hens’ journey was in 2012 when one of their major egg suppliers invested in a R20 million facility dedicated to producing pasteurised liquid egg from free-range eggs for Woolworths’ food products. Currently all Woolworths food products that contains egg as an ingredient are made with free-range eggs which amounts to about 79 million eggs every year.

Commending Woolworths on their achievement, Compassion’s Global CEO Philip Lymbery remarked, “I am delighted to extend my congratulations to Woolworths for their outstanding commitment. As farm animal welfare gains global momentum, this award underscores Woolworths’ pivotal role in Africa, championing improved conditions for laying hens. It symbolises their dedication to addressing customer concerns about animal welfare, ensuring that the hens under their care are raised to elevated standards of welfare.” 

“We are incredibly proud to receive this award as an acknowledgement of our unwavering dedication to animal welfare and ethical sourcing,” says Zyda Rylands, Woolworths CEO Food. “Our work on cage-free eggs, shaped by continuous dialogue and collaboration with animal welfare groups like Compassion in World Farming, represents just one facet of Woolworths’ ongoing Good Business Journey. Animal welfare is of paramount importance to both Woolworths and our customers, and this motivates us to continually enhance and improve all aspects of animal health and well-being.” 

Picture caption: 
From left to right: Louise van der Merwe (CIWF South Africa), Zyda Rylands (Woolworths CEO Food), Philip Lymbery (CIWF Global CEO) and Latiefa Behardien (Woolworths Food Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer)