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GLOBAL POULTRY TRENDS 2011– Africa’s Population Tops One Billion

16 May 2012, at 12:00am

Despite a growing human population in Africa, there are signs of growth in per–capita egg consumption in some countries, according to Terry Evans in the final part of his analysis of the global egg industry. While egg consumption in Australia is broadly in line with the global average on a per–head basis, New Zealanders eat considerably more, according to the latest statistics available.

The human population of Africa topped a billion for the first time in 2010 (table 1), at which time it represented 14.8 per cent of the world total of almost seven billion. By 2015, the number of people in Africa is forecast to reach 1,145 million, increasing this region’s share of the global total by one per cent to almost 15.8 million.

The FAO has not estimated egg consumption since 2007 (table 1). However, it appears that the average egg uptake per person has changed little, with egg output just about matching the rate of population growth. Hence, we estimate that the figure for the whole of Africa continues to be low at around 2.5kg per person per year, which, at an average egg weight of 58g, is equivalent to about 43 eggs per person. For most African countries, the average consumption is extremely low at 1kg per person or less, with only a handful of nations recording uptakes of more than 7kg per person. Nevertheless, there are some signs of expanding consumption.

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In Nigeria, uptake in 2010 is estimated to have averaged around 52 eggs per person, which was equivalent to about 3.1kg per person at an average egg weight estimated to be around 60g, as virtually all production is brown-shelled. Demand is expected to grow as barriers to consumption are gradually eroded through promotional campaigns.

In contrast, consumption in South Africa in 2010 was put at 132 eggs or around 7.7kg per person, assuming an average egg weight of 58g. In the view of the Southern African Poultry Association (SAPA), there is considerable scope to increase per–capita consumption, particularly taking into account the price–competitiveness of eggs as a protein source compared with other animal proteins. However, the key to an increase in demand will be continued real income growth as, for the majority of the population, there is a good correlation between egg purchases and incomes.

This statement holds true for most African countries as per–capita consumption is set to increase commensurate with the escalation of living standards which, in turn, will greatly depend on general economic growth. Redistribution of wealth will lead the way in achieving the material advancement of the population at large.

Egg consumption in Australia continues to grow in line with egg production, which is currently at record levels. According to James Kellaway, Managing Director of the Australian Egg Corporation Ltd (AECL), eggs are no longer perceived solely as a breakfast item for weekends but as an essential meal or snack option at any time of the day during the week. Truth in labelling has become an issue here, as in many other countries around the world. In Australia, consumers have been particularly concerned about what is the definition of free–range and allegations of cage eggs being sold as free–range.

There are some 2.46 million household shoppers (aged 15+) in New Zealand, of whom, some 65 per cent are egg–buyers. About 40 per cent are considered to be medium buyers, purchasing one to one and a half dozen eggs a week, while 23 per cent are viewed as heavy buyers, taking home more than 1.5 dozen eggs a week. Heavy buyers tend to be from bigger households with children and have slightly lower household and personal incomes. New Zealand Maori and Pacific Islanders tend to be heavy buyers.

Shoppers buy 42 per cent of their eggs from supermarkets. Nearly 79 per cent of purchases are cage eggs and 14 per cent free–range which, in this country, are more than twice as expensive as eggs from caged hens.

May 2012