At the recent International Egg Commission Global Leadership Conference in Denmark, the National Federation of Poultry Farmers of Colombia (FENAVI) was presented with the Golden Egg Award in recognition of the best marketing and promotional campaign to raise egg consumption.
With financing provided by all producers, FENAVI was able to design impactful marketing activities with an increase in annual consumption of 95 eggs per person between 2008 and 2018. This represents a 48% increase in a country where many other animal-sourced food options are available. Many can only dream of such a boost in consumption.
Know your market
While raising national egg consumption is one of the most visible deliverables of national producers’ associations, their role extends far beyond promotional activities and includes market research.
The success of the Colombian campaign was due to an indepth knowledge of consumers, their needs and desires. With this information at its disposal, FENAVI was able to target key segments of the population, for example families with young children, busy millennials and people seeking a healthy lifestyle, with well-crafted, simple messages.
Inform and educate
In a number of countries, governments do not have specific regulations regarding layer health and welfare, and producers’ associations have been instrumental in developing science-based codes using the best knowledge and experience available.
The recent revision of the layer code of practice in Canada involved a range of stakeholders, including farmers representing the association Egg Farmers of Canada, veterinarians, academia, government, non-governmental organizations, food service and retailers.
When adopted by all producers, these codes of practice allow them, and those in related sectors, to offer defined quality and gain consumer trust - an essential component for sustainability.
While the nutritional value of eggs is well recognized, it is still important to invest in research and bring new innovative data to medical doctors, nutritionists, key opinion leaders and consumers. One of the best programs currently in place is the national research program managed by the Egg Nutrition Center with the American Egg Board. Working with top scientists, the center is able to regularly offer new data demonstrating new health benefits of egg consumption.
Younger consumers are particularly interested in food’s impact on the environment and a number of producers’ organizations, for instance The Australian Egg Corporation Limited, have commissioned environmental assessments. These studies confirm the sector’s low greenhouse gas emissions and offer suggestions on how to further mitigate egg production’s environmental impact, another key component for sustainability.
Producers’ organizations also play a key role in interacting with governments, providing feedback during the design of local and international standards. Numerous associations recently provided comment to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on the draft chapter addressing animal welfare and laying hen production systems, voicing their concerns and providing input to improve these standards. Similarly, national food-based dietary guidelines in a number of countries do not contain recommendations on egg consumption and producers’ associations are working with health professionals to encourage governments to update these guidelines.
In many countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, egg farmers would benefit from pooling resources to maximize their actions to ensure the sustainable growth of egg production and consumption. Producers’ organizations are key to the sustainable growth of the egg sector.