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GLOBAL POULTRY TRENDS 2011 - Population to Top One Billion in the Americas

21 March 2012, at 12:00am

With an annual growth rate of a little below one per cent a year, the human population of the Americas will top one billion in 2017, representing 13.5 per cent of the world total, writes Terry Evans as he examines the trends in the human population and per–capita egg consumption in the Americas.

Of the current estimate for 2012 of 954 million, two–thirds live in just three countries, the US (316 million), Brazil (198 million) and Mexico (116 million).

No country measures egg consumption directly, the published data being derived from a number of calculations, all of which incur margins of error – some quite large – regarding the number of layers, egg yield, the average egg weight where uptake is expressed in the number of kilogrammes per person, and last but not least, the size of the human population.

Sadly, the FAO stopped calculating consumption data in 2007 (table 11/1). Even here, the data was not actual consumption but an estimate of the supplies available for consumption divided by estimates of the population. At that time, it looked as though average uptake in the Americas at just over 11kg per person was about 30 per cent above the world figure, which we currently estimate to be around 9.2kg per person.

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There is clearly a wide range in egg consumption in this region but while there is scope for a considerable increase in the number of eggs eaten in many of the countries, as the human population is often relatively small, increases in uptake in total volume terms will not be large. Currently, the biggest consumers of eggs in the region (and possibly the world) on a per–person basis are the Mexicans. According to an IEC report, in 2010, each Mexican ate an average of 365 eggs.

Second in the region’s consumption league are the Americans with an average uptake in 2010 of 247 eggs per person, of which 171 were eaten as shell eggs and 76 (in shell egg equivalent) were consumed in product forms. However, the total eaten has declined from a peak of 258 per person achieved in 2006, and the latest estimate for 2011, which reveals a further slight reduction to 246 eggs. USDA economists foresee the slide continuing towards 234 eggs in 2015.

In Canada, while consumption of eggs in shell declined sharply between 2009 and 2010 from 148 to 142, the total uptake actually increased from 193 to 195 per person as a result of a large rise in the quantity eaten as egg products from 45 to 53 per person.

For 2010, Brazilians ate 132 eggs per person but there, in sharp contrast to the Americans and Canadians, the number consumed as products was only eight per person.

According to one source, consumption in Argentina jumped from 210 to 239 per person between 2009 and 2010 as a result of a near 15 per cent increase in egg production. Uptake in products is slowly growing and is currently assessed at a little over 13 eggs per person.

March 2012