In 2001 egg industry experts said cage free eggs were not possible because consumers wanted cheap eggs. Yet by 2016, cage free eggs (even if they don’t fully fix some of the problems) have become such an industry buzz word that McDonalds, Cosco and other big companies are demanding them from egg suppliers so they can meet their own customers’ demands.
Changes in the egg industry actually spell great news for any entrepreneur hoping their X, Y, or Z product will be the change their market seeks.
Today, more and more consumers want to purchase products that are ethically manufactured, sourced and sold.
Don’t assume you can’t make waves in the status quo when it is full of powerful, big companies. Social media enables you to bypass them and go straight to your customers. The one thing you can be certain of in life is change. Why not be the change rather than fear entrenched power? Companies that focus on people, the planet as well as profits will be the big winners in the changing economy.
If you are considering what type of company to start, look at things that upset you in todays products and services and see if you can conceive of a different way of meeting that consumer need. Ask around to see if other people also would like to see a change in their choices in that market sector. Do a small market test of your product and you might have the next ethical business idea.
Someone first had to think, “I’ll raise my chickens outside of cages and charge more for my eggs. Surely some portion of the market will care.”
And they did it. And consumers cared. And now every grocery store you enter carries at least some form of cage-free eggs; many take it a step further and stock pasture raised eggs, too.
Now, Vital Farms, an Austin-based egg company who work with over 100 family run farms across the U.S., is the biggest producer of pasture raised eggs with sales of almost $29 million in 2014. Not bad for a company that started because they wanted to provide consumers an ethical alternative to the inhospitable lives chickens were living to produce our eggs.
When Catherine Stewart and her husband Matt O’Hayer started raising chickens they rescued a few from factory farms only to see these chickens unable to move around the beautiful cage-free pasture the couple was providing for them. That pushed Matt and Catherine from idea to crusade. They started with 20 chickens, grew to 1000, then 4,000 and then started buying other farms.