GLOBAL POULTRY TRENDS: Asia's Population to Grow by 700 Million

With Asia's human population forecast to grow by more than 700 million by 2030, industry watcher Terry Evans, says a growing demand for eggs will put pressure just to maintain present per-capita egg consumption levels.
calendar icon 27 February 2013
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Between now and 2030 Africa is the region expected to show the most rapid population growth, averaging around two per cent a year. This will be more than double that anticipated for Asia. Consequently, Asia will account for a smaller proportion of the global human population as time goes by, representing 58.5 per cent in 2030 compared with almost 60.5 per cent back in 2010 (Table 1).

More important, in terms of the likely growth in the demand for eggs, is the anticipated increase in population numbers. Compared with 2010, Africa will have an extra 540 million people; by 2030, however, the increase in Asia, will be far greater at more than 700 million.

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Globally, egg consumption increased by almost 0.1kg per person and year between 2000 and 2009 (Table 2 and Figure 1), the average rising by 10 per cent from 8.1kg to 8.9kg. This, coupled with an 11 per cent increase in the human population, resulted in a 23 per cent rise in the quantity of eggs eaten. However, in the latter part of the review period, per-capita egg consumption stagnated or even declined a little in all the regions, except Asia. This does not necessarily mean that the demand for eggs fell elsewhere as, although production expanded everywhere, in many instances it did not keep pace with population growth, leading to a reduction in the quantity of eggs eaten per person. This was particularly true in some developing countries.

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In certain developed economies, egg demand, particularly for eggs in shell, has stagnated or fallen. For these, future growth will greatly depend on increasing the uptake of eggs in product forms. For the developing economies of Asia and Africa, the key factor to expanding demand will be an improvement in real incomes, particularly among the poorer sectors of the community where there is a positive correlation between real income gains and egg purchases, a trend which is not as apparent among those in the better-off or relatively wealthy sectors.

Figure 1. Average egg consumption by region (kg per person per year)

As can be seen from Tables 2 and 3, average egg consumption per person in Asia was below the world figure back in 2000 but has since overtaken it, and it appears that for both Asia and the world, uptake will exceed 9kg per person in 2013.

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Not surprisingly, consumption data for the individual countries in the region (Table 3) show wide differences, from little more than 1kg per person in Bangladesh to more than 19kg in Japan. But, while uptake in Japan hardly moved over the period to 2010, the increase in China - a country with 1.4 billion people - climbed dramatically by 3kg to 18.5kg per person.

In stark contrast, in India with a population of almost 1.3 billion people, consumption although increasing, had reached only 2.3kg per person by 2009. One current estimate for India is 2.8kg per person. Of note, is that India's population at 1.43 billion in 2022 will have overtaken that of China. Of course, in countries such as these with such large human populations, a gain in the average consumption of only 0.1kg per person represents a massive increase in the total quantity of eggs consumed.

While future growth in the demand in Asia will be built around increases in the number of shell eggs eaten, some countries in the region have reported increased consumer interest in the so-called 'designer eggs' to meet a demand for what are perceived to be healthier eggs, lower in cholesterol and higher in omega-3 fatty acids.

February 2013

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