Globalisation offers the egg processing industry numerous opportunities to learn from the successes in other parts of the world, thinking differently and investing in innovation. Sara Gibbins of Noble foods studied the effects of globalisation.
Globalisation, do you consider it to be a friend or foe of the egg processing
“I think it is both. Initially, to some degree globalisation is a threat to our industry. A concern could be that globalisation means that more and more imports could be heading into national markets. We experienced a 40% decline over the past decade, while imports have shown a vast increase. Eggs are a commodity product and traded worldwide. Egg powder is easily transported at low cost and doesn’t lose its quality after months of storage. Some import prices are lower than those of domestic egg production, because EU countries must comply with welfare legislation, environmental rules and food safety considerations, which undermine competitiveness compared with the rest of the world. The average EU production costs for whole egg powder were €0.88 per kilo, whilst the Ukraine costs were 79% of that figure, USA 72%, Argentina 72% and India 81%. The cost of producing a dozen cage eggs in the UK is $1.17, compared with less than $ 1 in several other European countries. Additionally, innovation is world’s ahead in overseas countries where technology is far more advanced. Pea protein is also becoming a really big threat to our industry all over the world. So yes, globalisation is always going to threaten any industry, but if you analyse it and implement it, it is possible to work alongside globalisation instead of working against it. If you dig deep enough, you will find globalisation can be your friend.”
Noble Foods Ltd
Noble Foods is the leading supplier of fresh eggs to major retailers with an excellent nationwide service from modern, well invested packing centres in Great Britain. Each week the company individually grade, pack and deliver over 72 million eggs for their customers. Many of the eggs come from independent egg farms, in many cases, with hens and feed also supplied by Noble. Company owned farms also complement own egg production. Noble Foods believe that innovation in eggs is essential. 2009 saw the launch of the happy egg co., now the UK's leading egg brand. Their branded portfolio now includes One Good Egg and Eggs for Soldiers, providing consumers with more choice and added value.
Noble Foods work in close collaboration with their key customers to create added value propositions under their retailer brand. Noble have created and manage specific 'egg pools' that enable them to produce different types of eggs with variations in range enrichment or feed formulation for different retail partners.
Still, in your Nuffield study you focus on change and its opportunities.
“Yes, the world is changing extremely quickly. That is another opportunity – or demand – of globalisation. You have to keep track of new developments in the world in order to prepare your business. If you don’t, and the world is changing around you whilst you are not, then unfortunately you won’t be around much longer. Despite the challenges, globalisation also offers the prospect of wider markets. Most imports of egg products are from the US or EU. There is, however, a trend towards supply from the EU due to their control over food safety and animal welfare. In order to benefit from globalisation, we need to change by improving technology and embracing innovation. ‘Thinking differently’ is one of my recommendations.”
Could you give an example of ‘thinking differently’ in order to face
“Over the last decade in the UK, there has been a lot of media talk about reducing fat in meals. Obesity is a huge problem in many countries so how can we use it as an ingredient to create Health by Stealth, how can we market all the different use for eggs at meal times and what meals solution can we offer. But let’s not also forget that eggs have many uses and not just in the food industry. We can enter many numerous new markets, not only food-related, but also in the areas of pharmaceuticals, facial and hair products. For example, Asia has developed a successful egg white facial cleanser and the UK an egg membrane vitamin tablet. In Canada, there is a study where a medicine for mental disorders is produced that contains egg extract. It is proven to have the same results as other medicines, but without the side effects. This is incredible, especially when you imagine more than 350 million people across the globe suffer from mental illnesses. Eggs offer huge opportunities. According to a recent research, when treating burns to the skin, lotions containing egg heals the skin five times faster than standard lotions. Isn’t that incredible? So in order to compete in this world of globalisation we must think differently.”
How can the sector take advantage of consumer trends?
“Global trends are very important to us all, and we can learn from success stories but also remember that trends have consequences as well as benefits so it’s important to analyse them well. Casual dining is a huge trend everywhere at the moment, as people are always in a hurry and eat breakfast and other meals on the go. This offers marketing opportunities for egg products throughout the day and not just at breakfast time. Meal solutions that are low on carbohydrates are also another trend at the moment where we can see many restaurants and food outlets offering solutions to this such as a Protein Bistro Box at Starbucks and the Omelet menu at Subway. So we need to do the research, understand the trend and offer solutions.”
Is that an example of how the egg
processing industry needs to improve its communication, as you mentioned in your report?
“Yes, as an industry we must focus on the consumer, our customers and their needs. To successfully market new products and new ideas, you must also understand the direction in which society is moving. Recognising consumer attitudes will help us to implement marketing campaigns and get our message across to the consumer. But communication is also about our own supply chain, building stronger relationships and working together.”
What are your expectations for the future?
“I expect egg consumption to grow, it should do. Eggs have so many benefits, but we need to market these benefits and the fact that eggs and egg products offer so many solutions at so many mealtimes. Consumers need to be more educated about the real nutrition that comes from eggs, such a cheap but tasty source of protein. The main three pillars to focus on for the future are communication, innovation and collaboration. If we are successful in these aspects, we will reap the benefits of globalisation.”
Sara Gibbins (42) from Harrogate, England is managing director Didier's Parisserie Ltd and assistant to the chairman at Noble Foods Ltd. After a career as sales representative at Virgin Drinks, Gibbins became the director of Stonegate Food Ingredients Ltd until it was taken over by Manton in 2008. She stayed at Manton as chairman.
In April 2012 she stepped down to pursue other opportunities, including her Nuffield Scholarship, studying the effects of globalisation in the egg processing industry.