Joanne Ivy, president of the American Egg Board (AEB), made a presentation to the Board of Directors as a lead-in to the organization's summer meeting on July 19 in Chicago. She outlined some of the pertinent features of the organization's Strategic Plan. Nutrition science will be emphasized as will traditional and new media aimed at "Moms with Kids at Home" to promote the health benefits and versatility of eggs.
In addition, it will be planned to expand and maximize national messages through the AEB state organizations. AEB and state affiliates will focus their efforts on the highest potential areas such as manufacturers, food service operators and retailers to assure the maximum impact of resources.
From the consumer's standpoint, new plans are being developed to increase awareness of the nutritional value of eggs and to maintain the 80 percent awareness factor of eggs.
67 Pages Have Discussed Eggs
Committee reports followed in the board meeting. Jacques Klempf, chairman of the consumer education/foodservice committee, introduced Howard Helmer and Linda Braun for their presentations on newspaper and magazine coverage. Within the past four months, many articles in food related publications have included eggs.
In magazines alone, there have been 67 pages that have discussed eggs and their usage. This number translates to over $16 million in advertising value. The time period discussed includes May which is National Egg Month, and Easter. Newspaper and radio added to the overall publicity value by over $2 million.
AEB is sponsoring a "Worst Cook in America" contest, which is creating interest on the internet, on television and in stores. In the future there will be additional online communication with the Howard Helmer blogs and satellite media tours.
AEB's Alice Heinze reported on the Foodservice Chef Ambassador Program in which three outstanding chefs work with AEB on specialty dishes. She also discussed the successes of the 2007 foodservice advisory committee, which includes members from all aspects of the food industry.
Jerry Kil, chairman of the AEB advertising committee, opened the discussion on advertising by introducing the Grey Advertising team for presentation of their new campaign. The uniqueness of eggs supports a new, simple message for 2008. Factors supported by research such as high quality protein, natural and non-processed will be highlighted.
The agency has conducted research showing there is a good public reaction to the new "cracked egg" campaign. They also presented behind-the-scene clips of how new creative material is being produced. To reduce costs, the new broadcast spots are being produced in Canada.
Grey Advertising has also produced new print ads to be used on billboards as well as in other media. They intend to use some online advertising as well. Media schedules were presented that include spots during the day, which they said will maximize the egg message for breakfast time. In 2008, the advertising focus will be on health and wellness platforms with a theme, "Moms with Kids at Home". They will have more research data available to better understand and measure campaign results.
Allison Madall, of the Edelman public relations firm was introduced by Blair Van Zetten, chairman of the nutrition committee. She discussed the recent New York City event attended by 27 editors of leading women's publications. During the editors' event, many of the health and nutritional factors pertaining to eggs were discussed. She also presented several video clips of a wide variety of press releases in print, radio and television. Sixty-one placements in two publications were made recently in the Eggs for Pets Program for recipes using eggs in homemade pet foods.
Allison also reviewed the Kristine Lilly campaign, featuring the soccer star and how they intend to use her as a spokesperson in the future. Choline in eggs is being worked on with appropriate groups to promote its benefits for Healthy Babies. Other group meetings held to further the promotion of eggs, included visits by the Egg Ambassadors, health professionals, and the AEB Scientific Advisory Panel.
Health, Disease Prevention
Don McNamara, executive director of the Egg Nutrition Center (ENC) reported on the organization's recent activities. In light of the move from negative publicity for eggs to positive, the ENC will continue to promote research with health and disease prevention in the forefront.
ENC will concentrate on educating consumers to the benefits of eggs rather than defending their use. AEB, through the ENC will continue supporting education for young people through the Fellowship Program.
McNamara also discussed several research projects that are starting, including the Nicolosi project to research if eggs can slow down macular degeneration after it has started. The Hoffman study focuses on egg intake for expectant mothers and will determine if they help the birth rate situation in lower income families.
McNamara also commented on the ongoing efforts by the Egg Safety Center (ESC), headed by Hilary Thesmar, on the avian influenza issue. This program is being done in concert with the Turkey Federation and the National Chicken Council. ESC is also working on many projects including their newsletter, a Crisis Communication Manual and a new research project at the University of Minnesota relating to the movement of egg products, and the salmonella probability.
McNamara presented progress of the "Crack 300" program. ENC is working on being sure that scientific evidence is in place to break the long-held theory that the dietary limit of cholesterol from eggs should be 300 mg. The "Crack 300" program is working to put a strategic plan in place to educate the public that science is proving otherwise. Many countries throughout the world do not have these restrictions.
Chairman Jim Brock opened the report from the Industry and Marketing Committee by introducing AEB's Cindy McGarrigle. Areas of interest from the committee included a report on egg product marketing, and reports on the Advisory Council and the press releases that have been successful promoting the safety of egg products. Egg products continue to be promoted through the supplement that goes into major food manufacturing publications as well as research projects, trade shows and the work of Dr. Glenn Froning with Egg Solutions.
Attendees were told that with the new strategic plan, new and improved opportunities are in place for egg products marketing. Over 8,000 research people have been reached through advertising and trade shows relative to egg products use. In all cases, excellent scores have been made on the advertising efforts. New schedules will continue the promotion in Food Processing and Baking magazines.
Gene Gregory, president of the United Egg Producers (UEP) said that an $800,000 matching grant from the USDA for research on the air emission issue has been received. On animal welfare, Gregory said that a new National Farm Commission has been formed but it is staffed by "anti-modern" egg production people. He is afraid they will be lobbying Congress to change the way modern agriculture is conducted. UEP is working on being ready to meet this new challenge, he said.
UEP also is working with states to stop legislation that would eliminate cages. The organization has helped to stop similar legislation in several states already. Gregory sees an increased effort on the part of UEP to communicate more with egg customers. A good example of this is more communications with college foodservice people. Activists have been talking extensively to this group of people with some success; however, there have been successes by the industry to show foodservice and others the fact that cage egg production is really not bad, he said. UEP is holding conferences that include tours of egg production facilities.
Jennifer Geek, United States of America Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) gave her report regarding the export and promotion of shell eggs and egg products. Egg product exports are up in this country. Jennifer mentioned many countries that are doing business here and said that USAPEEC is working on promoting eggs. Advertising, trade shows, seminars and even an omelet making demonstration in Mexico are just a few of the promotional activities that USAPEEC has planned for the egg industry. Even with a slight budget reduction for these activities, USAPEEC continues to work on egg promotions in Mexico, Korea, the Middle East, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Germany.