Whether the regional marketing of eggs is sustainable or merely short term hype was discussed by Hans-Peter Goldnick, an egg, strawberry and asparagus producer operating in the north of Germany, as part of the EuroTier Poultry Forum.
His farm, Hornbrooker Hof, in Schleswig Holstein, Germany, had been supplying strawberries to the one local jam producer. Given the power that this sole producer had in purchasing agreement, Goldnick decided to market his produce himself.
Regional marketing is now more popular in Germany than organic. It is the number one consideration among German consumers, he noted, and evokes a feeling of going back to one’s roots and offering associations of quality and safety. In a recent poll, 43 percent of those consumers surveyed agreed with the statement: “I’m interested in products from my region."
For today’s consumers, the association of regional might remind them of their childhood, nature, flavor, control, even getting away from globalization. Every big food scandal pushes consumers more toward locally produced food, he claimed.
Forty-eight percent of consumers now say that they look for food with a local claim, and this can also be because they are more likely to trust local producers, believe that produce will be fresher, and want to keep jobs in their region. Seventy-nine percent of consumers say that they are prepared to spend more on locally produced goods.
However, Goldnick noted, survey responses and reality are often not the same thing. In Germany, he continued, only 40 percent of consumers are quality oriented, and while particular food claims may be highly successful in some more southerly European countries they are not likely to be so widely adopted in Germany.
And against this needs to be weighed the fact that 50 percent of all eggs produced in Germany are not sold as shell eggs, but go for catering and processing, and that of the 50 percent that are sold as shell eggs, half are sold by discounters.
In light of the above, how much room is there for farmers to make regional claims?
He concluded that regional marketing is a niche option, and can work for some farmers, but that it cannot be a solution for all egg producers.