MySheen

On the eggshell is a badge full of pride. British Poultry Egg Market and Consumer observation

Published: 2024-07-23 Author: mysheen
Last Updated: 2024/07/23, Milk, meat and eggs are the main sources of human animal protein. with the increase of human population and the improvement of living standards, the demand for animal protein increases, especially the growth rate of egg production is greater than that of milk and meat. For example:

Milk, meat and eggs are the main sources of human animal protein. With the increase of human population and the improvement of living standards, the world's demand for animal protein also increases, especially the growth rate of egg production is greater than that of milk and meat. For example, compared with 1970, the world production of milk (all kinds), livestock meat (including chicken) and eggs (all kinds) increased by 179%, 282% and 333% respectively.

For British egg production, laying hens increased from 35 million million in 2014 to nearly 40 million in 2018. In the past five years (2013-2017), the number of eggs eaten per person in the UK has increased from 180 to 199 per year, an increase of nearly 10.5%. This may be due to people's interest in a high-protein diet to improve muscle growth and reduce sugar intake while increasing satiety.

The access, Packaging and production system of British eggs

The British poultry egg market is almost the same as the egg market, and its egg access is relatively simplified (figure 1), with the collection yard (packaging center) as the hub. unlike the complex mesh channels of egg marketing in Taiwan (large-market merchants, mid-market traders, small-plate traders, retailers, transporters, supermarkets, etc.), 56% of the British market is retail, catering services 23% and processing 21%. Retail sales network is mainly in the UK's five major supermarket systems, a small number of poultry eggs are sold in the metropolitan area bazaar; about 85% of retail eggs are sold by supermarkets.

The way eggs are packed

The eggs sold in British supermarkets are mainly packed in thick cardboard boxes, rarely in transparent plastic boxes, with 6, 10, 12 and 15 eggs in egg boxes with brown shell colors. It is not easy to see white-shell eggs in the supermarket. If there are any, they may be duck eggs (figure 2 below), and they are packed in pink boxes to distinguish them.

The British egg market is dominated by brown shell eggs, and only a few sell white shell eggs in supermarkets, and they are duck eggs, and the egg boxes are pink.

Figure 2, the British egg market is dominated by brown-shell eggs, only a few sell white-shell eggs in supermarkets, and duck eggs, egg box color is pink.

In addition, quail eggs can also be seen in traditional markets in the metropolitan area, which are packed in transparent plastic boxes for consumers to see at a glance (figure 3).

Photo 3: egg retail at the Sunday market in London, England, the author was surprised to find that quail eggs (in transparent plastic boxes) were also listed on the stalls.

Photo 3: egg retail at the Sunday market in London, England, the author was surprised to find that quail eggs (in transparent plastic boxes) were also listed on the stalls.

As British eggs are not washed, if large eggs are mixed with general egg weight, large eggs are easy to be squeezed, often leading to eggshell rupture (figure 4).

Figure 4: the egg is not washed and graded, and the big egg is mixed and packed with the general egg shape, then the big egg is extruded and the eggshell is broken due to the limited space in the carton (red circle).

Figure 4: the egg is not washed and graded, and the big egg is mixed and packed with the general egg shape, then the big egg is extruded and the eggshell is broken due to the limited space in the carton (red circle).

Classification and production system of Egg products

Egg boxes on supermarket shelves will mark egg production systems, including: grazing (free range, in addition to indoor premises, but also provides outdoor space for laying hens), flat feeding (barn, indoor laying hens), organic (organic, grazing plus organic breeding) and rich cage feeding, etc., in order to meet the needs of consumers for eggs.

With the legislation on egg production norms in 2012, the increase in egg costs in various British production systems is in the following order: organic, grazing, flat feeding and rich cages, and the price of eggs is also in the same order as the former.

This logo symbolizes the ── Lion quality (Lion Quality) symbol in the UK.

The British egg industry is responsible, with high standards for food safety and through the relevant provisions of the Code of practice (British Lion Code of Practice). The key points of the Code of practice are as follows:

The registration and traceability of hens, eggs and feed ── is the so-called "lion passport".

Salmonella was vaccinated with ── SE (salmonella enteritidis; Salmonella enteritis) and ST (salmonella typhimurium; Salmonella typhimurium).

The hen did not molt.

Proper control of rodents in the barn.

Egg hygiene, time and temperature control.

All eggs are printed with the producer number on the farm (see first picture or figure 6 below).

The eggshell is printed with the best taste period and lion quality logo (Lion Quality mark; see the first picture or figure 6 below).

Feed control.

Strengthen the detection of salmonella.

The Office of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (government organizations) has a salmonella testing programme.

Independent audit, certified by ISO 17065 independent audit body, each part of the egg production and supply chain is independently audited.

The British Egg Lion logo is the most successful food safety project in the UK. Since its launch in 1998, more than 90 per cent of British eggs have been produced under the British Lion Project, and more than 130 billion British lion eggs have been sold. With regard to the operation of independent audit, the objects include breeder farms, egg breeding farms, hatcheries, egg farms, collection centers and feed factories. All websites conduct self-audit every 6 months, and random surprise audit on the production side, and surprise audit on the supply side on all collection centers every year.

Photo 6: the sign of British lion eggs shows that although there is a lot of information, it is not difficult to understand. Reproduced from https://www.egginfo.co.uk/british-lion-eggs

Photo 6: the sign of British lion eggs shows that although there is a lot of information, it is not difficult to understand. Reproduced from https://www.egginfo.co.uk/british-lion-eggs

The code of the lion quality mark on the eggshell not only represents the specific code of the egg farm, but also shows the type of production system and the country of origin. As an example, the uplink string, 3UK54321, the first number "3" indicates the type of egg production system (0: organic; 1: grazing; 2: flat feeding; 3: cage feeding). UK: producing country (UK). 14467: the egg comes from the specific code of the farm. Downlink string, BB15APR: the best taste period is before April 15 (Best Before Date 15 Apr.).

From the above, it can be concluded that the UK has a clear goal of improving egg quality, good planning and strict implementation, especially in the audit, which is not to let the audit become a mere formality and become a false story. In addition, it makes consumers feel at ease to eat eggs and build consumer confidence.

How do British consumers choose to buy eggs?

British consumers focus on antibiotic residues and microbial contamination of eggs, such as Salmonella (Salmonella), E. coli 0157 (E. coli) and Campylobacter (Aspergillus). The Lion quality Assurance Program was successfully introduced again in Britain in 1998 to address consumers' concerns about the safety of egg food and gain their trust. The main factors for British consumers to buy eggs are listed in the attached table. Obviously, what consumers care about most is the production system, followed by the taste period, and animal welfare takes second place.

I. production system and production quality

In 2018, no eggs in the British egg market were produced by traditional cage feeding. Grazing and rich cages were the mainstream of the production system, accounting for 51.9% and 44.2%, respectively, followed by organic and flat feeding, accounting for 2.5% and 1.4%, respectively. 2/3 of the respondents believed that the production system affected the taste of eggs and that herders were better than cage feeders, that is, the reason for the good flavor of eggs came from grazing.

II. Animal welfare

As can be seen from the following data, British consumers' concept of animal welfare has increased year by year: in 1997, 16% of respondents strongly disagreed with cage feeding, 3.4% did not agree with cage feeding, and 41% had no opinion; in 2008, more than 66% of respondents strongly disagreed with cage feeding and 7% had no opinion; but in 2012, more than 71.4% of respondents disagreed with cage feeding. Noble Foods, the UK's largest egg manufacturer, says it will only supply caged-free eggs by 2025.

3. Egg yolk color

Some of the reasons why consumers like dark colors may be misconceptions, including the belief that a dark egg yellow represents freshness, while a light yolk color indicates that it comes from cage production. In fact, the yolk in eggs is generally soft yellow, and its color is mainly affected by the carotenoids contained in the yolks, which are fat-soluble pigments from yellow to reddish brown. The more pigment the egg yolk contains, the darker its color is, and the dark egg yolk is widely loved by consumers, especially if the appearance of baked cake, egg and mayonnaise is yellow, the darker the yolk color is required.

Since poultry cannot synthesize carotenoids, the carotenoids in egg yolks should all come from feed ingredients, so the content of carotenoids in egg yolks is greatly affected by the kinds of feed materials. At present, the main sources of egg yolk pigment of laying hens are traditional yellow corn, corn gluten powder, alfalfa powder or Bermuda grass powder. To make the egg yolk darker, you need to add additional pigments to the feed, such as astaxanthin, and canthaxanthin also has a good coloring effect.

IV. Price

Price will affect consumers' choice of products, but for eggs, price is not the most important factor affecting the purchase. In recent years, British consumers are less concerned about the price of eggs and more concerned about other factors, such as the production system, so consumers are also willing to pay higher prices for eggs.

According to the research data, more than 50% of the respondents agreed to buy eggs produced by the welfare system at a higher price, but the actual retail data are not consistent with the survey data. This shows that there is a discrepancy between the interviewees' words and deeds. Economic considerations may be a factor affecting the purchase.

V. the producing country

British consumers closely link eggs with producing countries. The literature has documented in detail the drive of ethnocentrism (Ethnocentric). Services and products from their own countries are conducive to the sale of their products, so British consumers have a strong desire (92.7%) to buy British chicken to stabilize their market. Similarly, consumers have the same mentality towards the purchase of market eggs, paying attention to their origin.

In addition, many British consumers have confidence in the label of egg boxes produced in the UK because they represent products such as animal welfare, food safety and quality. The preference for domestic use is also related to age. British consumers over the age of 65 are more interested in origin information, while young consumers seldom look at the origin information of egg box labels.

Learn from the modern laying hen industry

Britain considers its laying hen industry to be one of the most modern industries in the world, and the British are proud of this great achievement. From the above reports, the UK egg sales channels, egg box packaging and eggshell strings representing egg identity cards. And other measures can be used for reference.

However, according to different national conditions, some British practices are not fully applicable to Taiwan's industry. For example, Taiwan has a limited land area, so it is not suitable to vigorously promote grazing and production of eggs, because grazing production will greatly increase the cost of eggs. The promotion of nutritious food for the general people will be restricted. In addition, the operators will also face the risk of being infected by bird flu.

Taiwan laying hens are not vaccinated with salmonella, and most consumers store their eggs in the refrigerator directly after they buy them. If the eggshell is contaminated and not washed, vegetables, fruits and food may also be contaminated when placed next to other foods, so there are concerns about food safety. There are consumers on the supermarket can not see through the contents of the carton eggs will be based on curiosity and confirmation behavior, and open the egg box, this may increase the frequency of eggs broken eggs.

Finally, through the writing of this article, consumers and operators can understand the development trend of the world poultry and egg market, which is expected to be conducive to the sustainable operation of Taiwan's poultry and egg industry.

 
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