GLOBAL POULTRY TRENDS: Incomes Are Key to Egg Uptake in Africa and Oceania

Egg consumption per person increased in Africa and Oceania between 2000 and 2009, the latest year from which figures are available, reports industry analyst, Terry Evans, in his final look at the global egg business in the current Global Poultry Trends series.
calendar icon 15 May 2013
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Egg consumption is expanding worldwide but on a per-person basis, the figures (Table 1) are heavily influenced by the rate of population growth in the different countries. Globally, total egg production and hence consumption (as there is little carry-over from year to year), expanded by 23 per cent between 2000 and 2009, while the human population increased by 11 per cent. As a result, as is clear from Table 1 and the graph, egg consumption per person grew by nearly 10 per cent from an estimated 8.1kg in 2000 to 8.9kg in 2009.

During the same period, production in Africa outstripped the global figure increasing by nearly 32 per cent, while the human population grew twice as quickly as the global figure, expanding by 23 per cent. Consequently the uptake per person rose from 2.1kg to 2.4kg although this appears to have eased back a little to 2.3kg in 2009.

The measurement of actual consumption takes place in only a few countries, the uptake figures presented by the FAO being estimates of the available supplies divided by estimates of the human population. There is considerable scope for error in the calculations around the estimates of layer numbers (especially when village or backyard flocks make a significant contribution to production), average yields, the average weight of an egg (where consumption is expressed in kilogrammes per person), and also in the estimates of human populations. Indeed, the variation between the theoretical and actual quantities of eggs available for consumption could range from between five and 20 per cent, depending on the reliability of the data used in the calculations. Consequently, it is probably safer to say that egg consumption for the whole of Africa is steady at around 2kg per person and year. With such considerable scope for error in the calculations, it is best that the data for individual countries are used as a guide to the trend and not to pay too much attention to the actual figures and particularly to small differences from year to year.

Per-capita egg consumption trends in Africa and Oceania compared to the global average (kg per person and year)

Africa's Population Increasing at 2.3 Per Cent Annually

Currently, the human population of Africa is estimated at 1094.7 million and it is envisaged that growth will continue at around 2.3 per cent a year, pushing this total up to 1145.3 million in 2015 (Table 1).

Nigeria is the largest market in Africa with a human population currently totalling more than 170 million and increasing at around 2.5 per cent a year. Although well below the world average, egg consumption per person at 3.7kg in 2009 was among the highest in the region and well above the African average of 2.3kg. More recent data indicates that consumption has been maintained at around this level in 2010 and 2011.

The Nigerian industry is looking for help from the government to establish egg processing facilities, as these would not only help preserve a fresh commodity while alleviating gluts in the market but also make available egg products that could be used as an additive to foods such as noodles, spaghetti and confectionery. This could greatly improve protein uptake generally and especially if these products were introduced in food recipes targeted at children.

Consumption per person in South Africa is among the highest in Africa and the most recent information provided by the International Egg Commission (IEC) indicates that it increased between 2010 and 2011 from 132 to 137 eggs per year. On a weight basis, it looks as though uptake has risen to around 8kg per person in 2011, though this calculation obviously depends on the average egg weight which, in the IEC report, was estimated at a little over 58g. It is considered that there is considerable scope for further increases in consumption, particularly bearing in mind the price-competitiveness of eggs compared to other animal protein sources. But here, as in the rest of Africa, future growth in the demand for eggs will be closely linked to improvements in the living standards for the bulk of the population.

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Egg Consumption Flat in Oceania

It would appear from the FAO data for Oceania (Table 2) that there was a rise in per-capita egg uptake in 2006. A closer look at the data reveals that this merely reflected an upswing in Australia and that, broadly speaking, between 2007 and 2009 consumption was flat at around 6.5kg per person, which compares with 6.2kg for the first three years of the review period.

Consumption in Australia increased from 5.9kg in 2000 to a high of 6.8kg in 2006 but then fell back to the estimate of 5.8kg per person in 2009, primarily due to concerns over cholesterol. However, according to the egg industry association, Australian Egg Corporation Ltd (AECL), 2011 witnessed a sharp recovery in demand as consumption jumped back from 198 eggs in 2010 to 213 eggs in 2011.

According to James Kellaway AECL’s Managing Director: "The increase was due to a growing awareness of new scientific evidence which proved that eggs do not increase blood cholesterol as previously thought, and that people can safely eat six eggs a week. Not only that, but the latest research shows that eating eggs can help people with diabetes and assist in reducing obesity in the community."

In 2012, feed costs surpassed those of the previous three years, which will have resulted in higher retail egg prices. It is not yet apparent how this has impacted on egg uptake.

FAO data for New Zealand indicates that consumption increased between 2000 and 2005 but has since stabilised at around 10.5kg. However, the IEC reports for this country, as for Australia, point to a much higher level of consumption. In both instances, however, the per-capita uptake in New Zealand is above that for Australia.

For 2011, the IEC report puts New Zealand egg uptake at 227 per person, which was a little below the 2010 figure of 230 eggs. However, as production from conventional battery cages will be phased out in the near future, it is likely that this will cut the level of production and so reduce total egg consumption and the number/quantity of eggs eaten per person. However, should egg demand be sustained, the resulting higher egg prices will help producers pay for the increased costs of converting to the larger colony cages.

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May 2013

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