Consumption of eggs and a wider variety of egg products has increased over recent years and is projected to grow to approximately 1,154 billion units by 2015, according to market research publisher Global Industry Analysts Inc.
Much of the growth in egg consumption has come from developing countries. Between 1997/99 and 2030, consumption is projected by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to grow from 6.5 kg per person per year to 8.9 kg in developing countries. Consumption is projected to rise from 13.5 kg per person per year to 13.8 kg in industrial countries over the same period.
In Asian countries, population increases and a growing middle class will drive growth in consumption over the next decade. In China, one of the largest egg-consuming countries in the world, egg consumption is currently nearly double the average of other developing countries. Consumption of eggs in China will grow from 15 kg per person per year in 1997/99 to 20 kg in 2030 as urbanization continues and incomes rise.
In the U.S., per capita egg consumption declined by approximately 170 eggs from 1970 to the mid 1990s, largely due to dietary concerns about cholesterol. However, per capita consumption of eggs and egg products has picked up over the past two decades. For 2012, the American Egg Board estimates that Americans will consume 248.9 eggs per capita, which is only slightly higher than 247.7 in 2011. Still, of the more than 90 billion eggs produced annually by U.S. egg companies, more than three-fourths of production is for the table-egg market (eggs produced for human consumption). United States Department of Agriculture projections show the decline in egg consumption in the U.S. will likely continue over the next decade. USDA projects egg consumption per capita to decline to approximately 239 eggs in 2021.
Egg consumption linked to income levels
Of course, consumption of eggs in any country is related to egg prices and the disposable incomes of the nation’s residents. In the U.S., for example, egg consumption declined from 2009-11, and will rise just slightly in 2012 as the U.S. economy is recovering slowly from an economic recession. During this period, U.S. egg prices also rose overall to their highest point at the end of 2011, before dropping at the beginning of 2012 and beginning to level out. In contrast, in the EU egg prices remained at some of the lowest levels in recent years in 2010 and 2011, but spiked at the beginning of 2012 after the ban on conventional cages went into effect. The exception to this is in Brazil, however, where egg consumption per capita of roughly 7.5 kg is below the world’s average of 8.8 kg, according to Euromonitor International. While egg prices in that country remain fairly low in comparison to other countries, Euromonitor’s Eggs in Brazil report attributes the lower consumption to the fact that eggs are not traditionally consumed as a breakfast food there, as they typically are in countries like the U.S.