Free-range organic chicken© Tim Scrivener

Compass Group, the world’s largest food service provider, has announced it will phase out eggs from caged hens by 2025.

It joins Sodexo, another leading food service business, and countless other retailers, restaurants and wholesalers across the globe that have committed to cage-free eggs in 2016.

Other food companies that have made similar pledges include Nestle, Unilever and baking giant Grupo Bimbo.

In the UK, Compass Group said it served three million customers every day in hospitals, schools, workplaces, restaurants and sports and leisure venues.

See also: How to plant trees to benefit free-range poultry farms

Compass Group’s Nicki Crayfourd said: “Improving the welfare of farm animals is a key focus for our business and we’ve supported the sourcing of cage-free eggs since 2009.”

Compassion in World Farming promised to work with Compass Group, and others, in ensuring “the production system changes required to go cage-free will offer the hens a good quality of life in rich and stimulating environments”.

The charity’s chief executive, Philip Lymbery, added: “I am delighted that Compass has become one of the leading businesses in the cage-free movement.

“I hope that their commitment to go cage-free globally on all liquid and shell eggs by 2025 will be a catalyst for others to follow their example.”