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Even eggs are in crisis: costs are rising, consumption is falling

f.summits of animal protein alternatives to meat and recently rehabilitated from a health point of view, eggs have always been a must in the fridge of Italians. We are talking about a food that (almost) everyone loves, which lends itself to being cooked in many alternative ways and, above all, present in many recipes that represent the basis of Italian cuisine. Also for this reason, even in Italy, it is natural to celebrate with dignity world egg day, World Egg Day, which falls on October 14. It’s true: eggs have their own party, too, wanted by the International Egg Commission, the body that represents the interests of egg farmers around the world.

But even such a popular and versatile food must face the crisis. Costs for producers are exploding and consumption has been falling for several years.

Why is this day celebrated

World Egg Day was created in 1996. Since then, every second Friday of October (this year on Friday the 14th) this food has been celebrated with the aim of making as many people around the world aware of the benefits of eggs and their nutritional importance.

Yes, because too often this particular product, so easy to find almost everywhere, is taken for grantedmaking it almost lose the great importance it has: only in Italy, to show some significant figures, are consumed an average of 210 eggs per capita. Not crumbs.

The good life

Eggs, a healthy and transversal food

The initiative, as mentioned, was born to celebrate a healthy and transversal diet, perhaps the most versatile product on the market, present in diets all over the world, from haute cuisine to the most frugal breakfast. With an additional advantage compared to many other foods: eggs have no schedules and find space in our diet during the day.

It can arrive at the table very simply in the pan, or interpreted by great chefs. Think of one of the recipes that made him famous Carlo Cracco. His egg yolk marinated in Parmesan fondue is one of the most famous dishes and appreciated by gourmets around the world. And a few years ago too Antonello Colonnahe thought of egg for his signature “open” sandwich, in which he Italianized the scrambled egg, which meets Zibello’s pancetta instead of bacon.

How many eggs can you eat per week?

One of the aspects that has been talked about the most in recent decades is how many eggs you can eat in a week. For a long time, it was believed that the maximum threshold was that of three eggs every seven days for a person in full health, but lately this indication has been denied.

Like, how? Thanks to an analysis conducted by Canadian researchers from the Population Health research institute (Phri) at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences – published in January 2020 – which decreed that one egg a day has no negative effects on healthnot even for those with a history of cardiovascular or metabolic disease.

The scientists looked at data from 177,000 people collected in three previous large studies from 50 countries on six continents. The three researches – we read in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – involved 146,000 healthy subjects (in the one called Prospective urban rural epidemiology or Pure) and more than 31,500 people with cardiovascular disease (in two clinical studies born in the purpose of verifying the effectiveness of anti-cholesterol drug therapies). In all three there was data on eating habits and for this it was possible to demonstrate that those who eat an egg a day or not have no consequences. on blood cholesterol levelson the incidence of serious cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and on mortality.

Even eggs are in crisis: costs are rising, consumption is falling

But even the eggs know the crisis

But all that glitters is not gold. Yes, because the world of eggs too lives the crisis these last terrifying months. In 2019, Italy was the fourth European producer of eggs (12.3 billion per year), after France, Germany and Spain, with a consumption per capita of 210 units. The positive trend also continued the following year when, during the first lockdown, per capita consumption reached a record 219 units. Lately, however, it has been recorded a new drop in consumption which worries producers.

After the boom of the previous year, the contraction in 2021 (-9.5%) was expected. After a period of domestic constraint, with a lot of time spent in the kitchen, the return to normality, with the resumption of life outside the home, has in fact resulted in a physiological reduction in many consumptions. Indeed, by directly comparing the data for 2021 with that for 2019, we even observe a slight increase. The unpredictable aspect is the decline, although limited compared to other agri-food products, recorded in the first months of 2022. According to the Ismea report (presented last May 6 at the Rimini Poultry Forum), in fact the poultry sector too it suffers the repercussions of price increases due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, from those in the energy and transport sectors to those, even more importantly, of cereal-based food imports. Added to these factors is the increase in Chinese demand for corn and soybeans and the reduction in supply due to restrictions on bird flu outbreaks.

If we compare the data of the first quarter of 2022 with those of the same period of 2021 the drop in sales is 4-5%.

Costs are rising for producers, but not the price

Still according to the Ismea report, egg production is among the most affected by the current unfavorable economic situation. Indeed, if the meat sector can count on a dynamic demand, which makes it possible to gradually transfer the increase in costs “upstream” of production “downstream”, this is not the case in the egg segment. and their price on the supermarket shelves has not increased in proportion to production costs (increased by around 50% compared to the start of 2021).

Then there is an additional element (this does not necessarily have to be read negatively, on the contrary): growing consumer attention to animal welfare it is also gradually directing its purchases towards eggs produced on more sustainable and chicken-friendly farms. For example, the sale of eggs from enriched cages (23% of eggs on the market) has fallen further, while the demand for organic eggs (10% of the total) and free-range hens (3 %) is maintained.


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