In a move Burger King hopes will resonate with environmentally conscious consumers, the fast-food behemoth says it will only be using cage-free eggs and pork in its 12,400 locations by 2017.

 

“So many tens of thousands of animals will now be in better living conditions,” said Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States, a group that’s been urging BK and other similar companies to consider animal welfare in their purchasing practices. “Numerically this is significant because Burger King is such a big purchaser of these products.”

 

Perhaps the most interesting element of this announcement is its timing. In March, food industry research firm Technomic Inc. reported that Burger King had sales of $8.4 billion in 2011. By contrast, Wendy’s had $8.5 billion in sales, making it the first time since 1969 that BK wasn’t #2 on the burger ladder to McDonald’s ($34.2 billion).

 

 

As if that development wasn’t embarrassing enough for the fast food giant, Burger King also unveiled a celebrity-heavy ad campaign for its new salads, smoothies and other healthy snacks in April. The awkward ad with R&B superstar Mary J. Blige had the blogosphere all atwitter with posts about its racial insensitivity. To smolder the PR fire, the company axed Mary’s commercial.

 

The company’s new cage-free initiative certainly changes the conversation surrounding BK. The chain uses hundreds of millions of eggs and tens of millions of pounds of pork every year. “For every cage-free egg or piece of bacon from a gestation-free pork system that Burger King sells,” says HSUS food policy director Matthew Prescott, “animals have been spared lifelong confinement in a cage so small they can barely even move.”

 

Green Global Travel is all aboard with these new steps, but we’ll save our standing ovation for when the “Home of the Whopper” introduces similar eco-friendly practices for cows being housed in tight confinement and fed genetically modified grains.  –DeMarco Williams

7 Responses to ECO NEWS: Which Major Fast Food Giant Pledged To Go Green?

  • Benedict says:

    Its about time. People’s attitudes to food are gradually starting to change and they’re realizing their business model isn’t sustainable the old way.

    • Bret Love says:

      Agreed, Benedict! I think, in the future, people will look back on our gradual transition to sustainable food/energy/living as one of mankind’s greatest achievements, a la the Industrial Revolution. Looking forward to checking out your site!

  • I like the idea but seriously, 2017? Why is it taking so long to roll out? Will believe it when I see it as hardly ever eat at any fast food joints now (maybe 3 – 4 times a year).

    • Bret Love says:

      Yeah, we feel the same way, Cole. At the same time, we do preach “going green in baby steps,” because for some people (and corporations) the idea of a lot of change coming at once is terrifying. So we like to celebrate these minor victories for the environmental movement, in the hopes that they will eventually lead to even bigger victories to come. You know, like a system for manufacturing/selling/charging electric cars, like they’ve had in parts of Europe for years…

  • I guess it’s a good start, but another fast food chain once famously said “Where’s the Beef”? I presume beef sales are by far the vast majority of product they are selling yet no commitment on that. Guess we’ll have to keep chopping down the Amazon for more cattle farms.

    • Bret Love says:

      Yeah, we noticed that as well. I felt the same way when we did our story on Coca-Cola’s Arctic Home program back in October. It was great that Coke donated $2 million to WWF to help protect polar bears, but then they only agreed to match donated funds up to $1 million. $4 million for a company like Coca-Cola is such a tiny drop in the bucket, and WWF’s planned “Arctic Home” reserve would be hellaciously expensive. Corporations can always do more with their wealth, but it’s nice to see at least tentative steps in a more eco-friendly direction.

  • dana says:

    i hope it will be a good outcome for burger king. the idea is good, but i dont understand what is taking them so long to do that. i hope they will serve as a good example to other fast food chains. i think they should also consider their use of plastic and styrofoam and do something about it.

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