Hormel Foods has switched to using cage-free eggs in its products.
The Austin-based company had been working with the Humane Society of the United States for several months on this issue.
Josh Balk, senior director of food policy at the Humane Society, said Hormel informed the animal protection group on Aug. 19 that the switch was complete.
"We understand that consumers are increasingly requesting cage-free eggs and are proud of the fact that 100 percent of the eggs we purchase to manufacture our products are cage-free eggs," Hormel says on its website.
About 200 other major companies have also announced plans to go cage-free, said the Humane Society. But Hormel's switch stood out.
"Hormel has set itself apart by doing it very quickly and shifting to cage-free, almost overnight, which is a credit, certainly, to the people within the company for making this very strong decision," said Balk.
According to the Humane Society, most egg-laying hens in the country are confined in battery cages -- each with an average space of 67 square inches. That's smaller than a sheet of letter-sized paper.
"So removing cages, allowing birds to move freely within a barn, is a great step forward to allow these animals to have a life that is, frankly, more meaningful to them," Balk said. "They're able to walk around. They're able to flap their wings or lay eggs in a nest."