Morrisons plans to sell only free-range eggs in a move that will put pressure on rival supermarket to follow suit.
About a fifth of the 10 million eggs it sells a week come from caged hens.
The decision means egg producers will need another 334,000 free-roaming hens to meet the demand from Britain’s fourth-biggest supermarket.
This demand could be further stoked come 2025, when Morrisons plans to extend the ban on caged eggs to its entire product range.
Robert Hofmann, Morrisons egg buyer, said: “Improving animal welfare is very important to customers and it’s very important to us. We source our eggs directly from farms and have worked hard to help them all move to free range.
“From today, all our eggs will come from free-range hens that are able to roam freely outdoors – typically during daylight hours – and then return to nest boxes in the evening.”
Tracey Jones of Compassion in World Farming said: “Momentum on ending the use of cages for laying hens is growing and Morrisons are leading the way. Importantly, they also have a 2025 cage-free commitment on the eggs that go into processed and ingredient foods.
“Along with RSPCA Assured, the new barn standard under the British Lion Mark ensures the UK is in a really strong position to lead on hen welfare.”