McDonald's just made a major change to its breakfast menu—and it's an egg-citing one.
In 2015, the fast-food giant committed to sourcing 100% cage-free eggs for its restaurants in the United States by 2025. McDonald's just announced that it has now fulfilled that promise two years ahead of schedule.
This means that every egg you consume from McDonald's now and moving forward comes from cage-free farms, where hens live in a more open environment and therefore have a richer quality of life. The company touted the move as a major step forward in advancing the quality and safety of its food, as well as the welfare of the animals in its supply chain.
"Reaching this milestone is another step in the right direction," McDonald's said in a press release.
Getting to this point was a huge undertaking for McDonald's and the global food corporation Cargill, its egg supplier. The companies had to figure out how to source enough cage-free eggs to feed the American masses—and to say that McDonald's buys a lot of eggs would be a grand understatement. According to the release, the chain purchased almost two billion eggs for its American restaurants alone in 2023, roughly six times the U.S. population.
McDonald's and Cargill consulted with animal welfare experts and academics to help its egg producers renovate their farms and implement new technology in order to start supplying cage-free eggs. Every farm in the United States that supplies eggs to McDonald's also has an attending veterinarian who makes sure the hens are well cared for and helps train and educate the staff.
"When McDonald's made the pledge to be cage-free in the U.S., Cargill, McDonald's and our egg producers had to literally build the supply chain of cage-free eggs," Kristin Tupa, sustainability manager for Cargill's North American protein business, said in a statement. "And now, it's changing the industry."
The transition to cage-free eggs isn't the only major change at McDonald's in recent months. In October 2023, the chain swapped out its famous spindles—the hollow-handled spoons formerly served with McFlurry treats—for a smaller black spoon. McDonald's said that the change will reduce single-use plastic waste in its restaurants since the black spoons use less plastic than the spindles.
The chain also announced in September 2023 that it will phase out its self-serve drink stations in restaurants by 2032. Currently, customers who dine inside McDonald's restaurants typically fill their own drinks, while workers have to fill drinks for drive-thru and mobile customers. The change is aimed at creating a more consistent experience for both McDonald's patrons and employees.