Cadbury maker Mondelez to switch to cage-free eggs by 2020 in U.S.

Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ.O), the maker of Cadbury chocolates and Oreo cookies, said it would stop using eggs laid by caged hens for its products sold in the United States and Canada by 2020.

Mondelez joins a slew of companies shifting to cage-free eggs amid pressure from consumers and animal-rights groups.

The company, which already uses cage-free eggs in all of its European chocolate brands as well as in its biscuit products sold in Belgium and the Netherlands, also said it would switch to cage-free eggs for all its products sold in Europe by 2025.

The decision comes at a time when the food industry is under pressure from groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, Mercy for Animals and World Animal Protection, which have successfully lobbied many companies to adopt animal welfare practices.

Both General Mills Inc (GIS.N), the maker of Betty Crocker cake mixes, and Kellogg Co (K.N) said last year they would source 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2025.

Fast-food companies have made similar announcements. McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) said in September that its 16,000 U.S. and Canadian restaurants would serve only eggs laid by cage-free chicken within 10 years, while Burger King has committed to using such eggs by 2017.

Mondelez’s shares were down 2 percent at $40.53 in early morning trading on Friday. The stock had risen 23.4 percent in 2015.

(Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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