Nestlé has announced it will eliminate the use of caged eggs from its supply chain worldwide by 2025.

The policy will be adopted in 189 countries, including Australia, and will improve the lives of tens of millions of hens, according to food giant.

This new policy to phase out cage eggs will affect Nestle products in Australia including Lean Cuisine, Nesquik and KitKat, the company said.

“To help drive welfare improvements for egg-laying hens, our goal is to use only cage-free eggs for all of our food products globally by 2025. This includes all shell eggs and egg products (e.g. whole egg powder and liquid, egg white powder and liquid) directly sourced as ingredients by Nestle.

“In Europe and the US, we will make this transition by the end of 2020. For the rest of the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania we will do so by 2025 and in Asia we will aim for the same transition period as conditions allow.”

Animals Australia said the commitment is a major step forward.

“We commend Nestlé’s ground-breaking animal welfare policy. As the largest food company in the world, this decision is a signal to the rest of the food industry that cage eggs don’t have a future,” Animals Australia director of Farmed Animal Advocacy Jesse Marks said.

“Australian consumers are concerned about the cruelty egg-laying hens suffer in cages, with a recent Roy Morgan poll showing that 67 per cent of Australians are more likely to support a company that has a policy not to use or sell cage eggs. This decision by Nestle demonstrates how leaders in the corporate sector can listen to their customers and respond.”

The news follows on from a similar decision last week by global hotel chain, Wyndham Hotel Group, which operates 26 hotels and resorts across Australia and 8,100 hotels globally.

Other companies cutting cage eggs from their supply chain include Subway, McDonald’s, Hungry Jacks, Woolworths, Aldi, McCain, Arnott’s, and Hilton.

These policies have followed negotiations with members of the Open Wing Alliance, a global coalition of animal protection organisations including Animals Australia.