Industry News | June 27, 2011

Egg Market's Not Cracking

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Whether it’s hard-boiled, over-easy, or poached; used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; or in baked goods or sauces, the egg is truly the MVP of the kitchen. Not surprisingly, penetration is extremely high and egg use remains steady at 94 percent of all U.S.households, according to a recent Mintel report.

A whopping 92 percent of Mintel respondents agree that eggs are an important part of a healthy diet; however, there is a potential struggle for organic producers as more than half (57 percent) don’t think organic eggs are any healthier for you than regular ones. Furthermore, 30 percent of respondents eat fewer eggs than they would like due to concerns about cholesterol.

“Older egg buyers confront heart-health issues and therefore limit egg consumption because of the cholesterol,” says Bill Patterson, senior analyst at Mintel. “The over-55 egg buyer is a prime target for low-cholesterol eggs and egg substitutes and could be reminded that cholesterol levels in eggs have fallen.”

Eggs are such a staple in people’s lives that, regardless of price increases or decreases, half of those households that buy eggs say they will not change their egg purchasing habits.

“Eggs represent an economical source of protein for people’s diets,” Patterson says. “Since the recession began in 2008, consumers have been driven to opt for larger volumes of eggs as a substitute for more expensive proteins. In April 2009 to June 2010, the 30-day average of eggs used increased to its highest level in seven years: 33 eggs per household.”

Regular white eggs are purchased by a large majority of consumers (88 percent), followed in the distance by brown eggs at 27 percent. Organic eggs and free range eggs come in at 17 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

Organic and free range eggs are most widely used by those aged 25-34. Whether because of higher awareness of and concern with diet and health for young children in the household, or due to a generational tendency to experiment with and embrace natural and sustainable foods, this age group should prove most responsive to marketers’ attention.

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