DESPITE the increase in retail prices for eggs, demand and consumption of eggs was incredible in 2013.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service reported a rise in per capita egg consumption last year to 251.7 eggs (Figure).
In its annual report, the American Egg Board (AEB) attributed the successful year to the efforts of its marketing research programs, which helped generate the consumption of an additional four more eggs per person over the past two years.
Targeted messaging to inform consumers and, importantly, health professionals of the nutritional value of the edible egg played a role in the banner year for the egg industry.
Last year, AEB messaging focused on telling the nutritional story of the egg and increasing eggs' share of the weekday breakfast plate.
On the whole, the messages were positively received. Tracking studies confirmed that 80% of consumers agreed with the statement that eggs are a nutritional choice, which was the goal of AEB's strategic plan in 2013.
According to NPD, a global market research firm, the egg's share of in-home breakfast increased in 2013 to a 25-year high. In addition, the consumer's knowledge of the nutritional benefit of eggs also increased.
Last year, the Egg Nutrition Center funded more than $2.7 million in research at major universities throughout the U.S. This effort was aimed at determining the latest science-based nutritional information about eggs.
In order to share egg nutrition research, the International Egg Nutrition Consortium was launched in 2013.
Moreover, AEB reclaimed Easter as an egg holiday last year by aggressively supporting a multifaceted initiative to remind consumers to buy and decorate more eggs, which was recognized by the International Egg Commission as the world's best marketing program.
As a result of the campaign in 2013, egg sales increased 3.8% over the Easter season in 2012, which equates to $40 million in sales and 8.1 million more dozens sold.
The introduction of a new egg substitute competed for market share in 2013, adding a challenge for egg farmers to increase demand and consumption.
In an effort to promote real eggs, AEB developed the "REAL Eggs or Egg Replacers?" advertising campaign, which promoted eggs as a familiar, trustworthy ingredient.
Still, growth in consumption and demand for eggs also involved gaining the trust of consumers and being transparent about egg production.
Earlier this year, results of a 50-year environmental study conducted by the Egg Industry Center and partially funded by AEB were released (Feedstuffs, Jan. 27). This information showcased how egg farmers have reduced their environmental footprint.
Looking forward, AEB said it will continue to work toward increasing the consumption of and demand for eggs and egg products. Egg producers are concentrating efforts in multiple ways to drive sales of eggs and egg products.
USDA has forecasted another year of rising per capita egg consumption in 2014.