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Cautious Optimism on Future of Egg Processing in Asia

by 5m Editor
15 April 2009, at 12:00am

The leading exhibitors at VIV Asia's special show sector, Eggs!, predicted that well managed egg processing companies will be successful in the future, writes Jackie Linden, editor of ThePoultrySite.

Some of the leading exhibitors in the special show sector, Eggs!, at VIV Asia in Bangkok last month were asked about their views of the growth potential for egg processing in the region. Overall, there was cautious optimism as egg processing is a new industry in most Asian countries.

Well placed to discuss the growth potential was Paul Buisman from egg handling and processing equipment company, MOBA. He considers egg processing to be a logical continuation from egg grading, which has experienced considerable growth in Asia in recent years.

"Looking at the global growth in egg production and the ratio in which Asia is growing, it is inevitable that the absolute proportion of egg processing will grow most in Asia. In egg grading and packing, we see Asian companies stepping from infancy to super modern packing stations in only a couple of years," said Mr Buisman.

As with any new industry, teething problems are almost inevitable but they offer important lessons for the future. "Since this process took several decades in the western world, it is logical that in Asia, some mistakes will be made and problems occur here and there but in general, the better managed companies succeed. There is every reason to believe that the same will happen in egg processing," added Mr Buisman.

Expectations for growth in egg processing were expressed by representatives of companies in other poultry sectors too.

For genetics and breeding, Dr R. Preisinger from Lohmann Tierzucht said, "In this day and age, consumers have discovered even more ways to utilise eggs. Therefore, similar to other regions, there will definitely be an increasing demand for eggs destined for processing."

For the incubation and hatching sector, P. Degraeve of Petersime agreed. "We share the view that the Asian egg processing industry will outgrow the egg industry as a whole," he said.

Ruud Aerdts of Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health forsees the development of egg processing in Asia following that of meat processing in the region, offering good opportunities for those companies able to invest in the new technology. "We feel that egg processing will grow in Asia, following a similar path to poultry meat processing, although the majority of the eggs produced will continue to be sold as fresh table eggs. This should offer opportunities for companies willing to invest in this technology," he said.

Two of the interviewees stressed that the prospects for the growth of egg processing differ across Asia, depending on a range of factors, including the drivers in the local market and importance given to food safety issues. The rate of growth may also be impacted by the global economic situation.

"Presently, in the majority of Asian countries, the drivers are still not present to push hard for egg processing, said Dr D. Joardar of Novus International.

"China will show the path as avian influenza and food safety issues will gain importance day by day, and consumers are likely to drive the change, preferring more processed, safe eggs. Also notable factor is the current rate of economic growth and purchasing power of consumers must keep on increasing, which may be affected by the current global economic slow-down. Probably egg processing will keep on growing in countries like Korea, Taiwan, China and Thailand," he predicted.

"But growth or new egg processing projects will not be seen in the next three years in countries such as India, Philippines or Indonesia due to a lack of key market drivers. The process may accelerate if the food safety issues and the egg industry consistently remain profitable," added Dr Joardar.

Brian McCawley from Big Dutchman echoed this opinion, mentioning too the poor perception of egg products in some markets. "We see egg processing having a positive impact in the more mature markets where convenience food is sold. In less mature markets, we do not think it will have an impact just now as they are still viewed as an inferior product," he said.

April 2009