In the November 2014 issue of Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, the USDA projects per capita egg “disappearance” at 265.9 for 2015, which is almost 11 eggs higher than it was in 2013. An increase of a little over 4percent in two years might not sound like that much, but for a commodity whose consumption rate had been relatively stagnant for a number of years, this is a significant move.
USDA’s estimate for egg disappearance in 2014 is 261.0 per capita; another 4.9 eggs per person might not be that hard for the market to absorb without causing downward pressure on egg prices. Consumers’ increased interest in high-protein foods has been credited for some of the increased demand for eggs and egg products in the U.S. The introduction of more breakfast items with eggs and egg whites at coffee shops and quick-service restaurants have spurred rapid growth in egg products sales. But, are we really in the midst of a “bull market” for eggs?
Frankly, all the positive news on lower feed cost, increased demand and egg producers expanding has me a little nervous. Is it just me, or does it seem like whenever it looks like everything is pointing to “can’t miss” profits that then something really unexpected comes up?
I am nervous about the impact of Proposition 2 this year. Will there be enough eggs that are Prop 2 compliant for California consumers? Will there be a glut of eggs in the other 49 states because of the industry expanding too rapidly? Egg producers in the EU suffered through some drastic supply and price swings in the year after the conventional cage ban went into effect there.
I guess I should just relax and enjoy the egg industry’s current good fortune, but I just keep thinking about the old saying, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” This promises to be a really interesting year.