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News and analysis on the global poultry
and animal feed industries.
on February 12, 2007

Does egg demand have a bright future?

What the future holds for egg consumption depends on who you ask.

To Larry Seger, president of Wabash Valley Produce, Dubois, Ind., “the future of egg consumption is bright. We’ve been getting a lot of good press, and we’ve overcome a hurdle. The medical community has done an about-face.”

But to David Thompson, president of Pearl Valley Eggs, Pearl Valley, Ill., “consumption is falling off somewhat. Increased breakfast offerings have helped us, but it hasn’t been enough to offset the decline.”

One problem, Thompson says, in the Chicago market that he serves, is that eggs are virtually never put on sale, so consumers do not have the incentive to stock up on them.

“We need to do a better job telling our story,” Thompson says. “The American Egg Board and the Egg Nutrition Center (ENC) are doing a great job, but they need more funding. Eggs are such a great value, but we need to get the word out. We need to blow our own horn more.”

Don McNamara, ENC executive director, says there are reasons to be optimistic on the future of egg use over the next three to five years, however, in light of several studies in the works.

Egg Group Controls Weight

First, he says, are studies that show people who eat eggs for breakfast are able to control weight better than those who eat a bagel for breakfast. The egg group, McNamara says, consumes fewer calories at lunch. And just concluded, he says, is a study at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., that shows that when people are fed eggs for breakfast four days a week, they are better able to stick on a low-calorie diet, because they feel less deprived. An additional study, he says, will try and determine whether people who lost the weight can keep it off, which is always the issue with weight-loss regimes.

Another study, McNamara says, is at Tufts University in Boston, which is trying to determine the possible role eggs can play in improving concentration, along with improved school performance and less classroom disruption, of school children.

Choline Benefits

In addition, McNamara says, choline has been incorporated into the list of essential nutrients by the National Academy of Science, because choline is needed for brain development and brain function. This benefits eggs, he says, because two eggs contain 80% of the daily recommended amount of choline.

Previously reported is the positive role eggs can play in protecting eyes from ultraviolet light, and thus macular degeneration, the leading cause of irreversible blindness. Lutein has been shown to be more absorbable from eggs than plant sources.

“In today’s society, consumers are looking for fast, convenient, and healthy,” McNamara says. He sees the possibility to make egg products with added lutein and vitamin D that are homogenized that people can take home and pop into a pan. In his view, eggs could be designed for the elderly, for athletes—with added vitamin B, and other groups—that could be in pint liquid egg cartons. What’s prevented liquid egg products from taking off, in his view, are issues of shelf life and the fact that there is no branded name on liquid egg products, two hurdles that can be overcome. In McNamara’s view, “there is a market out there for it.” EI

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