Colorado’s move to make all eggs sold in stores cage-free will impact consumers’ grocery bills

Mandate went into effect Jan. 1, but stores, producers granted time to transition

Megan Ulu-Lani Boyanton
The Denver Post
Shoppers at the City Market Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018 in Breckenridge.
Hugh Carey /

A state law requiring that all eggs sold in Colorado’s grocery stores be cage-free goes into effect on Jan. 1, and businesses, producers and consumers will all feel the impact of the change.

The regulatory agency overseeing the transition expects to give grocery stores and other businesses time to upgrade their supply chains, so they can be fully compliant with the new regulations — meaning they won’t start handing out fines next month.

Same goes for producers, who will have until Jan. 1, 2025, to produce only cage-free eggs, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

And consumers will notice a change at the cash register once the mandate is fully in effect as the cost of a dozen eggs is expected to jump — by $1 to $2, according to one farmer’s estimate. “Producing eggs in a cage-free system costs an estimated 36% more than in a conventional production system” — and both inflation and supply pressures could make it even more expensive, the American Farm Bureau Federation reports.

The law is receiving mixed reviews from Colorado’s livestock industry. The Rocky Mountain Farmers Union supports the move, said Executive Director Ben Rainbolt. Montrose farmer Scott Scarborough called it “a good thing to keep them out of the cage.”


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