Target Simply Balanced organic cage-free eggs
By 2025, Target said it plans to sell only cage-free shell eggs.

MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. is the latest among a flock of retailers, food manufacturers and restaurant operators announcing a transition to cage-free eggs. By 2025, the Minneapolis-based retailer said it plans to sell only cage-free shell eggs, based on available supply.

The move is part of a broader commitment to sustainable sourcing. Target said it plans to partner with pork product vendors to eliminate the use of sow gestation crates by 2022. Additionally, the company said all palm oil in its exclusive branded products, including Market Pantry, Archer Farms and Simply Balanced, will be fully traceable and sustainably sourced by 2018.

“When it comes to sourcing products, we take a page from our company’s founder, George Dayton, who was well-known for his strong business ethics,” the company said on its web site. “We still aspire to the highest ethical and legal standards today, and we’ll only work with vendors and suppliers who share our commitment. To make sure we meet those standards, we also work with regulators, manufacturers, industry organizations and other retailers around the world to continually set the bar higher for our industry as a whole.”

Target’s announcement follows similar pledges in the past few weeks from ConAgra Foods, the Campbell Soup Co., Mondelez International, Wendy’s and Denny’s.

“The momentum is unstoppable, triggered by a major cage-free announcement from McDonald’s in September,” wrote Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive officer of The Humane Society of the United States, in a blog post following Target’s announcement. “This is an enormously consequential shift in food and agriculture, and it is a clear signal to everyone concerned that gestation crates and battery cages are soon to be agricultural artifacts like the reaper and the threshing machine.”