Emphasising on healthy living and nutrition among consumers brings a big opportunity for the egg sector, according to young egg industry leaders.
Many of this year’s International Egg Commission young egg leaders said that while they recognised a push towards alternative proteins and vegetarian/vegan diets, there was a massive opportunity for the sector to highlight that eggs are a healthy and sustainable protein source.
Marco Hennes of Eirehof-Hennes GmbH, Germany, said the growing trend towards healthy eating was a significant one for the sector: “Eggs are one of the healthiest foods available and offer one of the most natural sources of bioavailable vitamins and minerals. With the increasing trend towards fitness in younger generations, there is a great opportunity for eggs as a natural alternative to food supplement products.”
Jon Krahn, of Paragon Feed Corps, Canada, said nutrition was at the forefront of consumers’ minds: “I think we have a tremendous opportunity to share the healthy benefits of eating eggs, and the sustainability stories of the farms that produce these eggs.”
Michael Griffiths, new product development manager at Oakland Farm Eggs, UK, said the convenient nature of eggs should not be overlooked: “On-the-go and convenience products have witnessed significant growth in recent years as people look for convenience in their day to day lives. Although Covid will have impacted this in the short term, as less people commute to the office, it has also made people re-evaluate their health, and I believe there is a huge opportunity for eggs and egg products to provide a healthy and convenient source of nutrition.”
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Commenting on some of the challenges facing the sector, Opeyemi Agbato, executive director Animal Health and Husbandry at Animal Care, Nigeria, said feed input price instability and unavailability had been a major threat.
Low yield of vital grains such as maize and soy beans compared to industrial demand, driving production costs very high, which is then transferred to egg prices. This has been due to insecurity in the rural farming areas which has also discouraged investment in mechanisation and other efficient farming practices that could improve productivity. Farm lands are underutilised during the planting seasons, leading to scarcity.” said Agbato.
Harsha Chitturi, of Srinivasa Farms, India, added that one key issue on her mind was how to leverage social media in educating the general public about the value an egg has to offer. Covid had also affected lives in many ways, leading to concerns about how to optimise working from home and monitor employee performance.
Bryce McCory, of Rose Acre Farms, USA, shared Harsha’s view: “The biggest threat I see for the egg industry is an uninformed public view of the egg industry… The conflicting ideas are on a variety of topics that include animal welfare and if eggs are a healthy food source – this has led to confusion about what the facts are. I truly believe the best way to inform the public about what is real is to be transparent, and we can all play a role in this.”
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The spread of avian influenza was raised by several of the young egg industry leaders. Darya Byelikova of Ovastar Union, Ukraine, said diseases are among the main threats to the egg industry: “Avian influenza cases are rising in some countries, and all together, being a powerful industry, we should cooperate to find solutions how to diminish the threat.
“The other warning I see is that some food manufacturers are excluding eggs from their recipes and replacing them with ingredients with a more stable price. And this is happening even in spite of the fact that eggs are the main source of healthy and affordable protein,” she added.