In very approximate terms, we can say that 1,195 billion eggs have been consumed worldwide in 2011 and that this is equivalent to 173 eggs per person per year. By comparison, the global consumption of 963 billion eggs in 2000 equated to 157 eggs per person.

Table 1 illustrates that high rates of annual egg consumption per person are found in every region of the world. Of course, the consumption rate possible for any food depends on personal or disposable incomes. Table 2 is adapted from a presentation to the WATT Online Forum of 2011, in which the consumption of eggs in each country was related to its economy in terms of gross domestic product per person and the size of its human population.

It is important to repeat the warning that the calculated average egg consumption by each person does not necessarily tell the full story about demand. We can use statistics from the USA to make this point.

U.S. Department of Agriculture data show the number of eggs consumed per person nationally decreasing from 248.2 in 2009 and 247.4 in 2010, to 247.3 in 2011 and 244.9 in 2012. While this continued a generally decreasing national trend (see chart 1), the country’s utilisation of eggs for human consumption in fact rose from about 76.4 billion in 2010 to 77.35 billion in 2011.

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Statistically, the highest figure for number of eggs consumed per person per year in the USA was recorded in 1945 while the lowest came in 2001. During the past decade the average appeared to rise between 2000 and 2005 before leveling out and returning to a decreasing trend.

A commentary by the American Egg Board said that table egg consumption had grown between 2000 and 2010 mainly due to an increased uptake of egg products, itself a reflection of lifestyle changes. In fact, the nature of consumption is changing everywhere. In countries with developed economies, the trend is to increase the uptake of processed egg products, whereas in countries with developing economies, the tendency remains for improving incomes to raise the uptake of shell eggs.

Sales are always influenced by prices, of course. U.S. egg prices in 2011 have been less volatile than in 2010, while the EU-27 price in Europe was the lowest of recent years (chart 2).