The hottest new trend to hit the food industry is the cage-free egg, laid by ostensibly happier chickens allowed the run of large barns, the NY Times reports. Mega-brands like Whole Foods and Ben and Jerry’s now use only cage-free eggs, and even Burger King is switching, but overheated demand is beginning to outstrip supply.
Farmers are resisting the more expensive method of raising hens, and doubt consumers will continue to pay twice as much for the eggs, which reportedly taste better. They also squawk that keeping hens packed on barn floors rather than in cages can lead to disease and cannibalism. The new eggs were born in the wake of battles by animal rights groups pressing for better conditions.