Say It Ain’t So Joe’s?

Found a full-page ad placed in today’s L.A. Times by the Humane Society asking “Why Won’t Trader Joe’s Give An Inch?” in the grocery chain’s practice of selling eggs from caged chickens confined in areas “so small that each hen has less space that a sheet of letter-size paper.”

Pointing to other market chains such as Whole Foods and Wild Oats that have adopted corporate policies against selling eggs from caged hens, the Humane Society is calling on TJ’s customers to take action to get it to embrace an exclusively cage-free egg stance.

On the Trader Joes website CEO Dan Bane calls such a demand “unreasonable” and defends his company’s “commitment to choice and value” in offering its customers cage-free as well as “conventional” eggs, citing costs and customer demand:

“Our cage-free eggs, however, cost more than conventional eggs, roughly 40 percent more in fact. That’s because it’s a simple supply and demand equation. Of the 3 billion cartons (dozens) of eggs produced in the United States each year, 95 percent are conventional versus the 5 percent that are cage-free.

While we certainly respect and appreciate the value of cage-free eggs, many of our customers choose conventional eggs in order to get an attractive price on this everyday basic. Therefore, we at Trader Joe’s will not alter our selection – or raise our prices – based on the assumption of others about our customers’ preferences.”

20 Replies to “Say It Ain’t So Joe’s?”

  1. GOOD FOR TRADER JOES.

    It’s pretty damn sad when you let the Humane Society bully you around.

  2. Good. I don’t want to pay more just so a chicken can stretch a bit. It’s a chicken for crying out loud, I eat them too.

  3. I will celebrate this by buying a bunch of eggs at trader joes tonight. some piece of paper will never tell me what to do or eat. i am an amarican!

  4. “Is it even worth a letter-writing campaign and a boycott?

    This is pretty horrible.”

    Ok, admittedly I’m having trouble parsing your thought here. *grin* Which side are you on?

  5. Get over yourselves, Will and Todd. It’s not up to you to force anyone else to buy cage-free eggs. Sometimes I do; sometimes I don’t. Buy the cage-free from another store if it disturbs you.

    Chickens don’t have feelings or emotions. Their part of this whole wacky existence is to provide eggs and be part of the food chain. They don’t need to workout in the yard.

    If you want to do something about real injustice, start with LAs decaying schools, or homeless dumping, the regressive effect of high gas prices on those who can least afford it, or something that will actually make a difference in the world. But keep your PETA-loving nose out of my kitchen.

  6. “Chickens don’t have feelings”? Perhaps they don’t have the raw hatred you do, Lee, but they’re sentient. You certainly don’t have to treat animals right, feel free to kick dogs and smash cats in car doors. I just can’t understand your intense displeasure at the concept of not hurting something.

  7. Hey Lee, reread the post. Slower. Move your lips if you have too. Sound out those vowels. Where exactly am I telling anyone what to do? I offer the Humane Society’s point and I balance it with Trader Joe’s position. In fact, there’s very little in the post to indicate any bias of mine one way or the other.

    But go ahead. Smarmy headline aside, you show me where in the article I so clearly and righteously stand on the matter. Show me where I say “Trader Joe’s rules” or “Free the chickens.” I found the ad and reported on it. I linke to both organization’s sites. If that’s slanted to you then you’re the one obtuse, not me.

    Personally, I don’t buy cage-free eggs. Up until now I didn’t think much about it beyond which carton is the cheapest and making sure none of the dozen are broken. But now I will put a little more thought into it. Maybe I will consider the chickens for once.

    Trust me, I damn well know how to force my views down someone’s throat and tell someone what to do or think. The very fact that you couldn’t see that I mitigated my personal views and included both damn sides of the matter means that pirated Hook’d on Phonix DVD you bought last week just isn’t cutting it.

  8. Healthy, well treated animals produce better quality food, whether we’re talking chickens or veal or whatever. Even if I’m gonna eat the animal (or its eggs), I want it well treated. Read Alan Watts. Respect your food. Respect the life given to keep you fed.

  9. I’m a PETA lover?

    Huh. That’s news to me.

    Wow, Lee. You sure are a smart, insightful, guy. I think FOX News is hiring, if you send them your resume, I’ll be a reference.

  10. Not start a pile-on, but mounting a campaign to ask a retailer to reconsider their position on stocking a product is a long way from “forcing people to buy” something, Lee. No matter which side of the debate you want to be on, you’re not going to win anyone over to your side by overstating your argument.

  11. For those of you who found “yawn” too confusing, let’s clear this up. Your headline, “Say it ain’t so…” would seem to put you in the category of being against TJs carrying any egg that wasn’t allowed to work out in the yard. For those of you who claim caging chickens is cruel, I ask you: have you asked the chickens if they mind? Did they answer you? And for the poster who accused me of “overstating” my arguement, I’d love to hear how you came to that conclusion. TJs gives people a choice. If you don’t like it, vote with your feet — any questions?

  12. No questions at all Lee and your yawn was entirely clarifying and sufficient as well. There was absolutely no need to elaborate because what was crystal clear is that you misinterpreted the headline and then contrived some fit of reactionary indignation and outrage that had no correlation to what I posted whatsoever.

    What’s most painfully hilarious about this whole steaming pile you’ve dumped is that I totally agree with you: if TJ’s egg policy pisses you off, don’t shop there. But you didn’t leave it at that. Instead you overstated your argument with beligerent assumptions and incorrectly characterized me as trying to force my “PETA-loving nose” into your “kitchen” — the former of which is not PETA-loving and the latter is the last place one would ever find it.

  13. UPDATE from http://WWW.TRADERJOES.COM dated Nov. 8, 2005 :

    A Note about Eggs:

    Over the past few months we have been listening to what our customers tell us about the choices we give them, specifically about their choices related to eggs. For more than a decade, Trader Joe’s has offered the choice of eggs, cage-free and conventional, in a variety of sizes, brands and packages. We heard this was confusing. In order to give our customers a clear choice when it comes to the eggs they want to purchase, and to develop a consistent approach to eggs in all Trader Joe’s across the country, we have decided to make a change.

    By February 1, 2006, all eggs in Trader Joe’s private label will be from cage-free hens. This includes by definition eggs certified as organic, and eggs from free-range hens. Customers looking for cage-free eggs will need to look no further than the Trader Joe’s label. All conventional eggs sold at Trader Joe’s will be in a brand name carton, not under the Trader Joe’s label.

    We expect this change will help further boost the proportion of sales of cage-free eggs at Trader Joe’s. It is our hope that this change will help our customers in their egg purchasing decisions.

  14. “I will celebrate this by buying a bunch of eggs at trader joes tonight. some piece of paper will never tell me what to do or eat. i am an amarican!”
    Posted by: Dude Ranch at October 5, 2005 03:09 PM

    –Unfortunately, this just about sums up the majority of the population of your worthless country, a view held by most who are fortunate not to have to live there.
    I mean, you can’t even spell it correctly.

    If, I had a choice , I would let all the chickens be free and start farming Americans. Although, thinking about it, What are yanks good for???? War, Absolutely nothing.

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