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Department of the Attorney General Sends Letter to Kroger Co. Urging Clear, Truthful Advertising of Cage-Free Eggs
March 31, 2023
LANSING – Last week Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel sent a letter to Rodney McMullen, CEO of regional grocery chain Kroger Co., urging the grocer “to add clear signage to your stores to help consumers understand which eggs, exactly, came from caged chickens.” The letter, authored by Jason Evans, division chief of Attorney General Dana Nessel’s Corporate Oversight Division, was spurred by a newly published report from Data for Progress, titled ‘Cracking Down on Koger’, which concluded from its polling, in-part, that “Kroger customers reveal that the company’s marketing of caged chicken eggs is both confusing and misleading, at best.”
In his letter from the Department of the Attorney General, Evans asserts the “report indicates that Kroger shoppers are being misled into buying eggs from caged hens wrongly thinking they are cage-free.”
“Grocery shoppers throughout the state should be able to decipher and trust the advertising in whichever grocer they shop,” said Nessel. “Grocers must be transparent and honest in their in-store marketing. It is troubling to read reports saying that is not what all customers are experiencing.”
At issue in the report is the use of product labeling terms such as “Farm Fresh” and “Grade A”, labels described by Data for Progress to not “have a relationship with the method by which the chickens that laid them were raised” and whose polling reflects “both uncertainty and misperceptions surrounding label meanings” among Kroger customers, per the report.
The Data for Progress report explains that Kroger Co. pledged publicly in 2016 to sell exclusively cage-free eggs by 2025. In 2021, the company reported being on track to meet this pledge, and then in 2022 abandoned its goal to ever achieve 100% cage-free egg stock on their shelves. In the departments letter, Evans reminds McMullen “Michigan law will prohibit – beginning in 2025 – the sale of eggs from caged hens.” Data for Progress concludes “Positive “Farm Fresh” language misleads many customers: Over 40 percent of Kroger customers are buying eggs from caged hens, believing they are cage-free.”