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Focus on Egg Processing and Economics

18 September 2012, at 10:42am

UK - The final day of the International Egg Commission (IEC) London 2012 conference focussed the industry’s attention on egg processing and economics.

Steve Manton, Chair of the IEC’s Egg Processors International Committee, opened the final morning’s speaker sessions; he told the IEC audience: “Egg processors fully support the industry’s commitment to CSR. With egg products we must think smarter; how can we get more with less, improving functionality year on year? There will be 9 billion people to feed on this planet by 2050; so we’ve got a lot to do”.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been mentioned time and again during this conference, as the international egg industry takes its responsibility to provide a safe, affordable food supply to people throughout the world very seriously.

Throughout the last day of the meeting, delegates heard from a fascinating combination of speakers, including: Peeyush Maheshwari from General Mills; The Sunday Times’ Economics Editor, David Smith; Professor HongWei Xin, of Iowa State University; Dr Vincent Guyonnet, IEC’s Statistical Analyst; and Les Priest, from Wright Agri Industries.

Peeyush Maheshwari, from General Mills, provided the IEC with a valuable insight into the challenges that new product developers face, and what they require from egg products. General Mills is one of the world’s largest food companies; with net sales of $16.7 billion in its 2012 financial year, it has 39,000 employees and markets its products in over 100 countries. Between January 2010 and December 2011, General Mills launched over 800 egg related products.

Peeyush Maheshwari told the IEC: “Health benefits of eggs and egg products is the critical driver which is really driving the growth”, describing eggs as a “hero ingredient.”

Claims are made on General Mills’ packaging stating the amount of protein contained in its food in relation to an egg; for example, on one food products it says “contains as much protein as two eggs.”

Peeyush Maheshwari told the IEC that in order to develop successful new products, it is vital to know which values are important to consumers. He stressed that health and nutrition are critical values for today’s consumer; they are demanding affordable, nutritious foods that are more akin to homemade products than the more traditional frozen products. He also said that there is an increasing trend for simple, clean labelling, and made a request to the international egg industry to develop a universal symbol which can be used on food products throughout the world to tell consumers that a product contains real egg.

Dr Vincent Guyonnet was the final speaker at this year’s Annual Marketing and Production Conference. Dr Guyonnet presented a report to delegates providing an update on the work that the IEC is doing with international organisations around the world, including OIE (World Animal Health Organisation), Food & Agriculture Organisation and Global Food Safety Initiative.

Scientific projects that the IEC has been involved in with these organisations include: animal welfare working groups, human nutrition initiatives and life-cycle analysis studies.