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News Icon 2/19/2024

by Ben Williamson

Two more state WIC (The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) programs have added cage-free eggs to their supplemental nutrition programs at the start of 2024—the final year before many national retailer cage-free commitments are due to come into effect. This brings the total number of states that allow WIC shoppers to purchase cage-free eggs to 34, representing 72.0% of all WIC participants, or roughly 4.6 million people.

Louisiana and Alaska are the latest states to approve higher welfare eggs for lower-income families

Louisiana, the #24 largest state by WIC participation, authorized cage-free and organic eggs on their food card in February, shortly after Alaska #46 added several cage-free egg brands to their list of WIC-approved foods. These states join the likes of California, Texas, and Florida—the three largest WIC states—in removing the income barrier to this higher welfare, and oftentimes healthier, food choice.

Compassion in World Farming USA staff members pose for a photo at WIC conference.
Compassion in World Farming USA staff members pose for a photo at WIC conference.

Retailers continue to transition to 100% cage-free by 2025

These state WIC approvals come as agencies work to ensure participants still have access to eggs as leading retailers march towards their commitments to sell only cage-free eggs. Target, Walmart and Albertsons all have commitments to reach 100% by 2025. The latest version of Compassion in World Farming’s EggTrack report—the seventh annual edition—shows that Target is reporting 57% of its eggs are currently cage-free, Walmart is at 21% and Albertsons is at 27%. Publix, which has a commitment to reach 100% cage-free by 2026 remains at around 60%.

States await decision on funding package

While most states continue to authorize cage-free eggs, some agencies are waiting on the outcome of a new WIC funding decision by the United States Congress before deciding to expand access. At the end of January, Senate and House Appropriations chairs announced that they had reached an agreement on funding allocations for fiscal year 2024 Appropriations bills, but those allocations have yet to be made public.

If WIC does receive full funding as we cautiously expect, states will have even more reason to authorize cage-free eggs in the future. The last state to do so is a rotten egg!

Check to see if your state WIC program authorizes cage-free eggs here.

Ben Williamson smiling at the camera wearing a black Compassion in World Farming t-shirt

Ben Williamson leads Compassion in World Farming's US office, overseeing the running of its campaigns, food business, and operations. Originally from London, England, Ben has over a decade of experience working for leading animal protection organizations in both the United States and United Kingdom. As a lead spokesperson, Ben has made numerous television appearances including NBC, CNN, Fox News, CBS, and Good Morning America and authored numerous op-ed pieces in USA Today, Newsweek, New York Daily News, Independent and more. Ben holds a Master’s degree in Political Science and Political Economy from London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from University College London.


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