World demand for hen eggs by 2015 will be some 12 million tonnes (mt) more than in 2005, and equate with a production of 70.9mt, according to the International Egg Commission's statistical analyst, Professor Hans-Wilhelm Windhorst.

This article covers the highlights of this report, with full coverage on our web site. Key findings are that about two-thirds of additional demand will come from Asia, 12% from Africa and 11% from Latin America. North America and Europe will lose market share.

Risk factors

These projections are based on likely trends in human population numbers and the development of gross national product and per-capita national income. Professor Windhorst points out that projected levels of production could also be influenced by at least three other key factors: avian influenza, rising feed costs and political decisions such as the banning of conventional cages in the European Union (EU).

Table 1: Projected development in per-capita egg consumption 

Predictions based on socio-economics

Professor Windhorst's approach to forecasting future egg demand is based on socio-economic data at country level: natural population increases, the age structure of the population, the degree of urbanisation, and projections of the development of gross national income (GNI) on a per-capita basis. With this basic data, the expected changes of the population and the buying power can be estimated.

'Remarkable' demand in Asia

In 2007, more than 60% of the global population lived in Asia. Per-capita and total egg consumption will increase in most Asian countries because of an expanding middle class with a growing buying power. Because of the high population in Asia, even a slight increase in per-capita consumption will lead to a remarkable growth in total egg uptake.

Slow rise in Africa

In Africa, the population will increase by 227 million by 2015 but this region has an extremely young population, with 41% under 15 years of age. Here, there is also the lowest degree of urbanisation, which means that many inhabitants still have to be supplied with food from subsistence farming or through small outlets in rural areas. Despite comparatively high growth rates in gross national product, it is expected that egg consumption in this region will remain low compared to other continents. Demand here may not grow as fast as the population because of a low per-capita GNI, slow economic growth and political instability in many countries south of the Sahara.

Negligible increase in Europe

With 733 million people, Europe is ranked third among the continents, and it is the only one with negative population growth. Egg consumption in most of the EU (15) member states will remain fairly stable over the next decade, whereas it may increase considerably in some of the new EU member states because of the growing buying power in the new middle class. For Europe as a whole, only a minor additional demand can be expected because of already high per-capita consumption and a decreasing population.

Table 2: Prospects of the global population development between 2005 and 2015 

Table 3: Projected development in global hen egg production 

Growth in Latin America

In 2007, about 52% of the 569 million inhabitants of Latin America and the Caribbean lived in only two countries Brazil and Mexico. In 2015, about 70 million more people will live in this sub-continent. This region has the lowest per-capita national income after Africa and Asia, However, a high rate of growth in gross domestic product in several countries in this region will lead to an increase in buying power and higher consumption. Because of the expected population development and a growing buying power of an expanding middle class, egg demand will increase considerably in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Little change in North America

About 5% of the global population lived in the USA and Canada in 2007. "Because egg consumption is already relatively high in both these countries, low growth can be expected in spite of the efforts to convince consumers of the high nutritional value of eggs," says Professor Windhorst. In North America, only a slow growth of per-capita consumption can be expected. Additional demand will come from natural population increase and immigration.

Upward trend in Oceania

With 35 million inhabitants, Oceania contributed only 0.5 % to the global population in 2007. Compared to Europe and North America, egg consumption in Oceania is still quite low. However, it is expected to increase over the next years in particular, in countries outside Australia and New Zealand as a result of a growing buying power.

Only minor changes in total uptake are expected for Oceania.

Global trends

Global total egg production is predicted to rise from just under 59mt in 2005 to almost 71mt in 2015.

More-or-less continuous growth in per-capita egg consumption is expected until 2015. However, whereas global per-capita consumption increased by 1.6kg between 1995 and 2005, it is predicted to grow by only 700g or 7.7% by 2015. This will, however, not be a homogeneous regional growth. The highest absolute increase is expected for Latin America and the Caribbean with 1.0kg, Oceania and Asia with 900g, and Africa with 800g. In North America and Europe, the growth rate will be considerably lower with 300g and 500g, respectively.

Projections for the global total for 2015 points to an additional demand of 12mt compared to 2005. On country level, China shows the highest additional demand (6mt), followed by India (1.2mt), USA (590,000t), Brazil (430,000t) and Indonesia (420,000t).