People Raising Backyard Chickens as Part of the Customer Base for Hampton Creek Products

Thousands of U.S. residents who aren’t farmers are raising small flocks of chickens in their yards. That includes people who live in big cities that allow this practice. Why is this a growing trend? One reason is the chance to have truly fresh eggs every day. Another is to eventually have the chickens butchered for food, knowing they will taste considerably better than nearly any chicken meat available in stores. A third reason is to participate in the movement to raise livestock as humanely as possible, even while continuing to eat meat and animal-based products. The trend away from supporting big agriculture is reflected in the success of upstart company Hampton Creek, which has found success with vegan items such as refrigerated cookie dough and a mayonnaise replacement.

Factory farms raise hens in cages where they have virtually no room to move and are jammed in with large numbers of other hens. They have no opportunity to spend any time living the normal life of a chicken. In contrast, backyard coops give the birds more space, and they typically are allowed to roam outdoors in a fenced-in area for some hours of the daytime. People with a bit of acreage may be inclined to let the chickens truly be free-range during the day, knowing the birds will return to the coop before sundown. Raising hens in this more humane manner is not a vegan practice, as the vegan philosophy believes animals should not be raised for utilitarian purposes. Nevertheless, many people who don’t want to become vegans still prefer humane treatment of animals raised for food, and they constitute some of the customer base of companies like Hampton Creek.

These backyard egg and poultry producers might have just a couple of chickens or they might have dozens. Property owners with dozens of hens often sell eggs to local residents for $2 or $3 per carton. In many instances, that’s money the kids earn so they can buy things they want or get a pizza with friends. Although these families are focusing on raising some of their own food, that doesn’t mean they want to make everything from scratch. They still appreciate convenience foods like Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo that avoid cruel treatment of animals.