GLOBAL POULTRY TRENDS 2013: European Egg Consumption Linked to Production and Population17 May 2014
FAO data indicate that egg consumption in Europe increased slightly between 2000 and 2009 at a little over 12kg per person, reports industry watcher, Terry Evans. Other and more up-to-date estimates show considerable variation between the individual countries in the region.
Although there are a few examples where the volumes of eggs traded between countries are significant, with little carry-over from year to year, the quantity of eggs produced in a country broadly equates with the quantity consumed. As production has expanded, so total egg consumption has increased in all regions and most countries.
However, when this data is expressed as the number of eggs or weight of eggs consumed on a per-person basis, quite a different picture can emerge. In some instances, the number or quantity of eggs eaten per person has declined because the growth in production failed to keep pace with the expansion in the human population. In other instances, the drop in the quantity consumed came about as a result of a cut-back in production arising from a fall in the profitability in the egg sector or, on occasions, when output has been hit by disease. In developing countries, when a shortage has pushed up prices, the reduction in consumption may genuinely reflect a lowering of the demand for eggs.
Europe’s human population looks unlikely to show any growth to 2030, the estimate by then of 736.4 million comparing with 729.1 million back in 2000 (Table 1). Globally, the population is expected to grow by around one per cent per year. As a result, while Europe accounted for almost 12 per cent of the world’s population in 2000, this proportion will have slipped to below nine per cent by 2030.
|Table 1. Human population of the world (millions)|
The FAO’s data series on egg consumption has not been updated since 2009. However, the figures for Europe during the period 2000 to 2009 reveal that while the quantity of eggs eaten per person per year increased from 12.1kg to 12.8kg in 2007 (Table 2), it stayed at this level in the following year before declining a shade in 2009.
|Table 2. Egg consumption (kg per person and year)|
Figure 1 reveals that while egg consumption worldwide and for Europe increased steadily during this period, it declined in the EU after peaking in 2004 such that the average in 2009 was below that recorded in any previous year since 2000. Indeed, at the start of that decade, average consumption in the EU was higher than that for Europe as a whole. But, by 2009 the Europe average of 12.7kg per person was well above the corresponding EU figure of 12.1kg.
The individual country data (Table 3) reveals how, for the majority of European countries egg consumption per person increased during the review period. Although a handful of states recorded falls in consumption, in general, as was mentioned earlier, this was a reflection of a cut-back in production rather than a fall in the demand for eggs.
|Table 3. Europe's human population and egg consumption|
|Human population (millions)||Egg consumption(kg/person/year)|
|# less than 50,000; - no figure; E = estimated; P = projected
More recent data on egg consumption (Table 4) is provided by the International Egg Commission. Here, uptake is expressed in terms of the number of eggs eaten per person per year.
Consumption in Austria in recent years appears stable, which is in line with egg production levels in that country.
The data for Denmark has only been given for 2012. Of note is that it is estimated that some 29 per cent of eggs were eaten as egg products expressed as shell egg equivalent.
The drop in consumption in France between 2011 and 2012 is the direct effect of the reduction in table egg production. The latter is not apparent from the FAO egg production figures for the country because these include hatching eggs for both the egg and table chicken sectors. According to the IEC representative from France, table egg production dropped from almost 784,000 tonnes in 2011 to 721,000 tonnes in 2012.
The decline in consumption from 222 to 205 eggs per person appears to have been in the uptake of shell eggs, as the quantity consumed in product forms showed little change at around 86 eggs per person which, in 2012, represented almost 42 per cent of total production.
|Table 4. Egg consumption in selected European countries (number per person and year)|
|In shell||As egg products||Total|
|Source: International Egg Commission|
As the industry in Germany has recovered from the cut-back in production resulting from the ban on conventional cages, so production and consumption have expanded.
Hungary’s egg business has faced great financial difficulties, causing output to slump by 26 per cent since 2000, a decline which has been mirrored in the per-capita consumption figures.
Since 2009, the uptake of eggs per person in Italy has also declined.
These regional reports have often highlighted how data from different sources can differ greatly. The egg consumption figures for the Netherlands are a good example of this. Figures put out by the Dutch Board for Poultry and Eggs show that consumption rose from 180 eggs per person per year in 2000 to 184 in 2009. At an average egg weight of around 62.5g, this puts uptake at between 11.3 and 11.5kg per person. In contrast, the figures released by the FAO point to consumption in 2000 at a much higher level of 17.5kg rising to 18.1kg in 2006, sliding back to 15.3kg in 2008 and an inexplicable slump to 7.5kg in 2009 (Table 3). The IEC data (Table 4) indicates that since 2009, consumption has climbed to 192 eggs per person in 2012, of which 23 per cent were eaten in product forms.
Domestic egg production and consumption in Poland have declined since 2009.
A similar picture is evident from the data for Portugal.
Consumption in Russia has increased since 2000 but in the latter years it seems to have stabilised and, according to IEC data, was steady at around 260 eggs per person in 2011 and 2012. Here only about seven per cent of eggs are further processed. A rise in egg product production is seen as one answer to ease the financial difficulties caused by rising input costs.
Consumption appears to be on the up in Spain where in 2012, the estimates point to 46 per cent being eaten as products.
Eggs appear to be increasingly popular in Slovakia, Sweden and Ukraine.
As in many countries, the apparent decline in consumption in the United Kingdom in 2012 reflected a production cut-back. Some 22 per cent of eggs are used by processors.
Regarding stimulating egg demand in the future, most European industries will have to face up to the problem of finding more effective ways of marketing eggs against increasing competition from rival products. In broad terms, the proportion of money invested by the egg sector, particularly on promotion, is small compared with its competitors.