When looking at global egg consumption trends, many players in the egg industry ask themselves how they can boost egg intake. Given that there is a limit to how many boiled eggs a person can consume, in a plan called Vision 365, the International Egg Commission (IEC) aims to promote product innovation and highlight the power of the egg through a holistic marketing approach.
The International Egg Commission is launching its Vision 365, a new decade-long plan to develop the global reputation of the egg. The initiative ushers in a new ten-year drive to double global egg consumption to 365 eggs per person, per year. Time for Poultry World to have a chat about the plan with IEC chairman, Suresh Chitturi.
“I am a firm believer that eggs can make all the difference in a healthy diet. Personally, I had some weight issues and I started on a journey to eat more healthy food. Eggs and egg products were an integral part of that diet. And I know, for a fact, that eggs can make a huge difference far beyond my own health, as well. It goes without saying that eggs provide excellent nutrition but, on top of that, egg production has an enormous social impact. As an example, if people in my home country, India, were to eat one more egg per person a year, we could create 35,000 new jobs.”
This information is not really new, so what made the IEC launch this plan now?
“We indeed know that our industry has a lot of potential. As a matter of fact, we have been discussing the promotion of egg consumption for years. It was during our last IEC meeting in Copenhagen that all pieces of the puzzle came together. We saw the consumption trends, including the stabilisation in yearly intake per person in Europe, for instance, and came up with our plan. We need to ensure that the rest of the world knows what we already know. We have to unite and tell our story of ‘the power of the egg’. Vision 365 will enable us to do that, positioning the egg industry as a global leader in sustainable protein production.”
How are you going to bring about this united effort?
“First of all, our Vision 365 plan will be implemented through a separate organisation that reports to the IEC. We have a financial commitment for the first three years, so it’s ‘game on’. We are now working on the second stage funding for the future. We are planning a strategic meeting with the industry to work out the details going forward but I am confident that we will be able to get everyone on board. We need industry-wide support and investment to unleash the full potential of Vision 365 and more than double global egg consumption by 2032. Together, we can make Vision 365 a reality. I encourage all members of the egg industry to get involved in this ‘unmissable opportunity’.”
And is this solely an industry push?
“As I see is, there are three levels at which we will involve people and organisations beyond our industry. We will work with international bodies like the United Nations World Food Programme, we will engage with opinion-makers and science, and we will get the world behind us in a concerted marketing effort. We want others to talk about us, fact based, as we see the enormous impact of misinformation. We see this huge push for plant protein in the market, but experts agree that plant protein alone doesn’t provide the balanced nutrition that eggs deliver. A vegan diet is also not good for overall human health. With increasingly differing opinions on what is good for our health and the environment, now is the perfect time to promote the power of the egg as an affordable, nutritious and low impact food source. We will promote the science on this and we, for our part, will also go with the science when it comes to the best types of housing systems for our birds.”
Accelerating global average egg consumption to 365 eggs is quite a goal, isn’t it?
“Of course we will not achieve this in the short term, we have to take it step by step. In my opinion, we should focus on the developed world first and then developing countries. We want to pick the low hanging fruit first and hope our experience of persuading these consumers to increase their egg consumption will rub off on the rest of the world. We are not saying that people should only eat eggs, but one egg a day has tremendous protein value.”
And what part can innovation play here?
“We want consumers to eat more eggs but we also realise that they will consume more than just hard-boiled eggs. And that’s where innovation plays a role. Many existing products already have eggs as an ingredient, such as pasta and bakery products. But we can go beyond those products. We are now working on chips made from eggs. These have seven times the protein value of potato chips and no carbs. I am confident that product innovations like this have the potential to really take off. With this type of innovation in mind I am positive that we can double, maybe even quadruple, the size of our industry. Per capita egg consumption is one thing, but total capita (due to the growing world population) will be another growth factor for the industry.”