Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - 71

Eggs

Refrigerated & Frozen Foods

Good

Eggs
Producers, brands get cracking
on innovations
that appeal to consumers.
By Lynn Petrak

F

or a food that doesn't stand upright,
the egg doesn't seem to need much
help staying on top these days. Per
capita consumption of eggs is expected to hit 274.6 in 2017, up from
267.4 in 2016 and 252.9 in 2015, according to the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Once associated with breakfast and as an
ingredient in various hot dishes and baked goods,
eggs are being consumed in more ways and on
more days. "What we are finding is consumption
across all ages is up, and not just at breakfast, but at
lunch and dinner," notes Ashley Richardson, senior
director of marketing and communications for the
Chicago-based American Egg Board (AEB).
Despite seasonal volatility in egg prices, the
simple fresh egg - once by and large a foamcontainer commodity at retail - is more diverse
and innovative in form, packaging, merchandising and applications. "The trends in the market
are reflected in the mix of products at retail," says
Kristin Herzog, chief marketing officer for San
Francisco-based Happy Egg Co. USA, noting
the cage-free, pasture-raised, caged, liquid eggs,
hard-cooked eggs and egg replacements that are
part of the current market.

For Goodness' Sake
The uptick in egg consumption and accompanying product diversity can be attributed to a
variety of factors in the marketplace, particularly
burgeoning interest among consumers in foods
deemed wholesome and healthy.
Those broad descriptors cover a lot of attributes
that apply to egg products sold in supermarkets.
Consumer demand for the humane treatment
of hens is one major influencer in the current
egg marketplace. In recent years, hundreds of
grocers and manufacturers have switched to or
expanded cage-free egg offerings or production,
according to the USDA, with an optimal time-

table of 2020-25 for conversion.
Despite the fact that cage-free hens are currently producing about 10 percent of the total egg
supply, and that cage-free eggs require considerable
investments by farmers and producers to be passed
on as a higher price point for consumers, sales of
cage-free eggs are continuing to climb, while other
product-related claims, like pasture-raised and
free-range, are also emerging and expanding.
Earlier this year, Boise, Idaho-based Alberstons
Cos. revealed the expansion of its commitment to
carry only cage-free eggs by 2025 to include liquid
eggs. "Broadening our cage-free commitment will
keep the conversation going and, hopefully, continue
the industry's work in humane sourcing and corporate social responsibility," remarked Shane Sampson,
chief marketing and merchandising officer, at the
time of the announcement.
Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, a Chicago-area-based specialty retailer that focuses on healthy
and organic products, pledges to sell 100 percent
cage-free eggs by 2022. "My customers are buying more cage-free eggs than ever before. They
are 'voting' for cage-free with their purchasing
power," notes Simon Cutts, director of grocery,
adding that the company recently updated its own
brand packaging to call out cage-free eggs.

There is also a
protein story to
tell with eggs.
Eggs are allnatural, highquality protein."
-Ashley Richardson,
American Egg Board

August 2017 | progressivegrocer.com |

71


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Progressive Grocer - August 2017

Contents
Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Intro
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Progressive Grocer - August 2017 - Cover1
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