Ashley Gurbal Kritzer
Tampa Bay Business Journal
Feb 23, 2016
Tampa-based Bloomin’ (NASDAQ: BLMN) said Monday that it will transition to 100 percent cage-free eggs in its restaurants by 2025. Bloomin’ is the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar.
“Our guests expect us to source and purchase wholesome ingredients responsibly,” Juan Guerrero, chief global supply chain officer, said in a statement. “We are working with our suppliers to ensure we meet or exceed this deadline.”
Committing to cage-free eggs is a popular move in the restaurant industry. In September, McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) said it would shift to cage-free eggs, as is Dunkin’ Donuts (NASDAQ: DNKN) and Taco Bell, which is owned by Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM).
Bloomin’ operates close to 1,500 restaurants throughout 48 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and 22 countries.
The cage-free move, Bloomin’ said, “reaffirms the company’s commitment to the humane treatment and handling of animals” — and that’s important to consumers, according to Technomic Inc., a Chicago-based food industry research and consulting firm.
“Cage-free is particularly important right now,” Darren Tristano, Technomic president, wrote in a Feb. 2 blog post. “Forty seven percent of consumers said they are more likely to order dishes made from cage-free eggs or poultry during breakfast dine-out occasions.”
“The preference ties into health and wellness concerns from consumers,” Tristano said.
“Consumers are increasingly concerned about transparency — what’s in their food and where it came from,” he wrote, “and operators and suppliers are feeling the heat.”