GLOBAL POULTRY TRENDS 2014: Europe’s Population Set to Decline27 April 2015
Europe is the only global region where a decline in the human population has been occurring since year 2000 and the trend is forecast to continue. As industry analyst, Terry Evans, explains, it has the highest egg consumption per person, mainly as the result of rising consumption in countries outside the European Union.
Whereas expansion in the human population is foreseen for all the other major regions of the world, the long-term picture for Europe points to a decline in numbers. Thus by 2050, Europe’s population is projected at 709 million or some 20 million below the 2000 figure (Table 1 and Figure 1).
|Table 1. World human population by region (millions)|
Currently, with a population of 743 million, Europe has just over 10 per cent of the world total of 7,325 million. Future global population growth will be mainly influenced by changes in Asia and Africa. At present, the latter two regions represent 60 per cent and 16 per cent of the global total, respectively. By 2050, Africa with an annual growth rate of more than two per cent will have 25 per cent of the world’s population, while Asia’s share, expanding by only 0.5 per cent per year, will have slipped to 54 per cent. As a result of a negative growth rate Europe’s contribution will have contracted to just 7.4 per cent.
Measurement of actual egg consumption takes place in only a few countries, the figures presented by the FAO being estimates of the available supplies divided by estimates of the human population. There is considerable scope for error in the calculations around the estimates of layer numbers (especially where village or backyard flocks make a significant contribution to production), average yields, the average weight of an egg (where consumption is expressed in kilogrammes/person), and also in the estimates of human populations. Indeed, the variation between the theoretical and actual quantities of eggs available for consumption could range from between five per cent and 20 per cent, depending on the reliability of the data used in the calculations.
With such considerable scope for error, the data for individual countries are best used as a guide to the trend and too much attention should not be paid to the actual figures and particularly to small differences from year to year. Also, care needs to be taken when comparing the data between countries.
The figures provided by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Table 2 and Figure 2 reveal that, when compared with 2000, the estimated egg consumption per person has increased in all regions of the world.
|Table 2. Global egg consumption by region (kg per person per year)|
The global picture shows growth of almost one per cent per year as the supplies available for consumption have risen from 8.1kg to 8.9kg per person. Based on an estimate for continued growth in egg production this world average uptake figure looks likely to have risen to around 9.3kg per person in 2015.
As would be expected, average uptake is lowest in Africa at just 2.5kg per person in 2011.
Although the level was highest in Europe at 12.9kg, estimated average consumption in this region has been flat since 2007. The region showing the fastest increase was the Americas where uptake in 2011 at 11.8kg per person is closing the gap on Europe.
Egg consumption in the European Union has actually declined since 2007 from 12.6kg to 12.0kg per person, while uptakes in countries outside the Community have increased, which is why the Europe average has held up at 12.9kg (Table 3).
Most notable here has been the large increase in Ukraine, where consumption has nearly doubled since 2000 to 18kg per person, making this country the biggest egg-eaters in the region, along with the sizeable rise in the Russian Federation where consumption has gone up from 12.7kg to 15.2kg over the same period.
|Table 3. Europe's human population and egg consumption|
|Human population (millions)||Egg consumption (kg/person/year)|
|# less than 50,000
- no figure
After Ukraine, the people in Belarus appear to be the next biggest egg consumers, averaging 16.4kg in 2011.
However, some 26 countries in the region consumed less than the European average of 12.9kg and even more disappointing is that in 17, uptake in 2011 was less than in 2000, which must be cause for concern for those egg industries.
The International Egg Commission (IEC) collects data on egg consumption though, in this instance, the figures relate to the number of eggs eaten per person per year rather than the weight of eggs consumed (Table 4). The advantage of this series is that the data is more recent than the FAO figures, and most interestingly, for a number of countries, the IEC data indicate how the total egg consumption figure breaks down into the number of eggs eaten in shell and those consumed in products.
|Table 4. Egg consumption in selected European countries (number per person per year)|
|In shell||As egg products||Total|
|Source: International Egg Commission|
As with the FAO data, there is room for considerable error in the IEC series.
On the positive side, at least six of the countries show higher levels of consumption in 2013 than in 2010 but in contrast, an equal number have recorded a decline in uptake. Of particular note is the sharp drop that has occurred in Hungary and Poland.
In developed economies, egg industries have been making a determined effort to expand the usage and hence consumption of eggs in product forms. Worldwide, this figure is low estimated at around seven to eight per cent of production. In the US and Canada, the consumption of eggs in products forms is more than 30 per cent of total uptake, while in the EU, the quantity eaten in this way is considered to be between 20 and 25 per cent.
Based on IEC figures, in the Community the French eat the most eggs per person in product forms at 91 although the Danes, Italians and Spaniards consume 70 or more eggs per person per year in this way. Expressed in percentage terms, France again comes out tops as egg product usage represents around 42 per cent of total egg consumption. For Denmark, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, the corresponding figures were 30 per cent or more, while the UK and the Netherlands returned figures in excess of 20 per cent. In contrast, in Ireland, only nine per cent of eggs are eaten as products.
Expanding consumption of eggs in products does not always increase total egg uptake as, on occasion, the consumption of eggs in products actually replaces that of eggs in shell.
Go to our previous article in this series by clicking here.