But today's announcement from Rembrandt, and similar ones from Rose Acre and Arizona's largest producer, Hickman Farms, earlier this year, which indicate they too will go cage-free, are startling and remarkable. Indeed, if these large Midwestern and Western companies - which between them produce about 10 percent of all eggs in the nation - can make these commitments, so can others.
"With the unprecedented number of top food companies announcing timelines to switch exclusively to cage-free eggs, we are uniquely positioned for the future in cage-free eggs and egg products," said Dave Rettig, president of Rembrandt Foods. Indeed, just after the McDonald's announcement, Starbucks announced it would source all of its eggs from cage-free operations by 2020. Burger King is doing the same, by 2017. Earlier this year, the nation's three largest food service companies - Aramark, Compass Group, and Sodexo - all pledged to go entirely cage-free within the next five years. Other major food retailers are expected to follow, and Massachusetts voters seem poised to support a ballot initiative to end any sale of shell eggs from caged hens in the state (a petition is now circulating, with the measure expected to appear on the ballot in November 2016.)