GLOBAL POULTRY TRENDS - More Egg Products But Fewer Processors in Europe

Within the EU, around one-quarter of eggs are processed, according to industry watcher, Terry Evans, in the final part of his review of Europe's egg industry exclusively for ThePoultrySite. The industry is growing in both volume and product variety although mergers & acquisitions have slowed the increase in the number of companies involved in this business.
calendar icon 6 April 2011
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Global production of egg products is estimated to be in the region of 4.8 million tonnes as shell egg equivalent. It is difficult to assess the levels at which plants are operating but for Europe as a whole, there is the potential to produce almost 2.0 million tonnes of product, of which EU member countries could be responsible for some 1.8 million tonnes. Hence, within the EU, approximately one in four eggs could be diverted to egg processors.

In Europe over the past 10 years, most of the larger egg product producers have expanded while some of the smaller operations have been taken over or merged to establish new modern facilities. Filiep Van Bosstraeten the CEO of Ovobel Ltd ([email protected]) kindly supplied the following appraisal of the European Union egg products industry.

Because of strict EU regulations and the exacting requirements of the food industry egg processing in the EU is considered to be among, if not, the best in the world. Equipment is constantly being improved not only to higher capacities but also to stricter hygiene standards, and to extend to shelf life of both fresh and liquid products. Most manufacturers are certified according to ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) and BRC (British Retail Consortium) standards.

Besides the normal growth for industrial use, a considerable and increasing quantity of egg products is being made for the catering industry. Several manufacturers are producing further-processed products with added value, such as cooked and peeled eggs, poached eggs, French and Spanish omelettes, waffles, scrambled egg mixes, quiches, egg mayonnaise, custard cream and sport drinks. Further growth is anticipated in this sector of the market.

The EU is self-sufficient in egg products and although imports from outside the Community grow in periods of high shell egg prices, the quantities remain relatively small. Because of a high level of consumption of egg yolk, the EU exports some dried egg albumen, mainly to the Far East.

The eventual imposition of World Trade Organisation regulations, coupled with further cuts in tariff protection resulting from bilateral agreements, will make the egg products business in the EU vulnerable. The cost of eggs in the EU has increased considerably because of welfare regulations that do not exist in most third countries and where producers may have the additional advantage of lower feed costs. Other legislation, such as the Integrated Pollution and Prevention Control Directive and salmonella control requirements have also had adverse impacts on the EU egg products industry's competitiveness.

Within the EU, Eurovo (Italy) with plants in Italy, France, Poland and Spain remains the largest overall egg products manufacturer, while Igreca (France) is the biggest in spray-dried products. The Sanovo Group (Denmark) with factories in Denmark, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic, and the Weko Group (Netherlands) with plants in the Netherlands, Austria, Spain and Portugal are also in the top five egg products manufacturers in the EU.

Europe's Leading Egg Processors

Austria The industry has not changed much in the past 10 years. The companies Amering, Falzberger, Pro-Ovo (owned by Weko-Netherlands) and Hessel Eier make products primarily for the local market. Ovoprot is the most important producer of powdered products. There are several trading companies specialising in the transit trade of products from third countries. In the past, these products were mainly from Eastern Bloc countries, Canada and the US, but nowadays they come mostly from South America and India.

Belgium The production of eggs and egg products has fallen markedly. Belovo decided to halt egg-breaking in Belgium, transferring production outside the EU to China, India and South America, and to concentrate its activities on the production of fine chemicals extracted from egg whites and yolks. Other Belgian processors such as Anseeuw, Hulstaert, LEC and Lodewijckx have made up for some of the loss in throughput, arising from the bankruptcy of Dion Vande Wiele but a large portion of this business has been taken over by processors from the Netherlands and France.

Bulgaria The country has no commercial egg processing facilities.

Czech Republic Framagro with plants in Jicin and Prerov is a joint venture by the French group, Glon.

Denmark Sanovo Foods Ltd, part of the Sanovo Group is a major player in Europe, which through its own trading company, exports to Japan and the Far East. Sanovo has fully owned plants and important share-holdings in processing facilities in Denmark, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic and the Far East. While Danegg Ltd's main activities are in shell eggs, it is also developing its egg products division with more added-value items. This company is also a major shareholder in Sweden's Kronägg. The production activities of Honum Ltd have been transferred to Hedegaard Ltd's own factory.

Estonia Eesti Munatooded – owned by Scanegg Suomi OY (Finland) – markets a wide range of products.

Finland Scanegg Suomi OY is now a daughter company of Munakunta, This company dominates the national market and has owned Estonia's A/S Eesti Munatooded since July 2006. The other Finish processor, Farmimuna OY, is a vertically integrated family-run business.

France Products output has shown continuous growth such that today they account for at least 25 per cent of egg consumption or more than 200,000 tonnes of shell egg equivalent. The trend towards greater concentration has continued. Although some 60 plants are listed, it is estimated that currently only about 30 are in operation, and larger groups control some of these.

Igreca is the biggest and most important processor of powdered products. Glon owns Trois Vallées, Lecam and Ovoland. With the recent acquisition of France Ponte-Inovo, Glon has the most diversified range of egg-based products for the catering industry. The Liot plant has been taken over by Italy's Eurovo, who already own Ovonor and the Caradec Group. The cooperative, Cecab, has reduced the production capacity at ABCD. While Cecab has halted output in Ovociel, it has increased capacity at PEP, which is exclusively dedicated to products of added value for the catering industry. Geslin has continued with its modernisation and expansion programme to become the second largest producer in France.

Ferme du Pré has expanded capacity and is specialised in the production of extended shelf-life items, cooked and peeled eggs and poached eggs. Samo has increased production and added shelf life products to its range. Sovimo is now owned by Carlier. Among the independent egg products manufacturers that have exhibited considerable growth in recent years are Agrodoubs, Atlantic Ovo, Blanchard, Epi Bretagne. Lorandel, Soc.Normande d'Ovoproduits, Ovoservice and Socovo. Valoroeuf (owned by Veos of Belgium) is a specialist in spray-drying technical egg products.

Germany The leading player is Ovobest followed by Eipro and Juchem. Sanovo (Denmark) remains active in the production facility in Zeven but has sold its interests in Rex Emsland to Ovobest. Other manufacturers include Bonner egg products, Cewo, Ei-Quick, Eisa, Ehlego and Rädler.

Greece Sovimo-Hellas, now owned by Greek egg producers and traders, has added cooked and peeled eggs and omelettes to its production. Zouras Farm has completed a new plant with facilities for making egg powders that will start up at the end of 2010. Another installation due for completion at the end of 2010 is owned by Ovo Fresco.

Hungary Egg production has fallen by more than 50 per cent since 2000 and only medium-sized processors such as Capriovus, Babolna and Pasteur are operating, mainly to serve the local market. Gyermelyi, an important noodle factory, has its own modern egg processing plant.

Ireland Ready Egg (previously Erne Eggs) producing extended shelf-life products and hard-boiled eggs dominates the sector. Smaller operators include Thompsons, Glenshane and Andrews.

Italy Egg products represent about 40 per cent of the total consumption of eggs. Production capacity has further increased. This country continues to be a big consumer of egg yolk, much of which is imported, while it exports egg white in liquid and powdered forms. Eurovo, the largest processor, has increased its capacity in its own plants and expanded via acquisitions. New farms with in-line breaking have been added, and the production of egg powders increased.

Monaldi has acquired Uovador, and together with its production facilities in Albania and Romania, it has become the second biggest in Italy. AIA has further modernised its production, while Parmovo has added drying facilities. GF Ovodry is specialised in spray-drying without having breaking facilities. Other operators include Cascina Italia, Ferraris and Novelli.

Latvia Balticovo, a key processor with 1.5 million layers, is expanding its facilities for liquid and powdered products.

Lithuania Vievio EMT is the number one products manufacturer.

Netherlands A major producer and trader of egg products with 20 registered plants. In a short time, the Weko Group has become one of the most important egg processors in Europe. Along with several acquisitions in the Netherlands, Weko also owns a processing facility in Austria (Pro-Ovo), a factory in Poland (Weko-Polska), and more recently acquired the Nive plant with its trading companies in Germany (Agrovo and Hamegg), and the company is currently installing a new facility to the egg farm it owns in Spain.

Adriaan Goede BV has markedly increased its capacity for powdered products and has also acquired Eiproma, a manufacturer of extended shelf-life liquid egg items. Bouwhuis has expanded through the addition of a new spray-dryer. Frisian Egg Products (Stuiver) has completed a new plant and established a joint-venture for egg products manufacturing in Egypt. Wulro Egg Products has modernised and expanded. The Lemmers Group has built a new plant and entered into a co-operation with EPO. Several smaller producers such as Verstappen serve the local market while the technical egg products business is dominated by Schaffelaarbos.

Norway Although not a member of the EU, it has strong trade relations with the member countries. About 17 per cent of output is turned into products. The biggest manufacturer is Prior which having modernised its plant has changed its name to Nortura. A smaller player is Ek Gårdspakkeri AS.

Poland Ovopol is the most important manufacturer. Ovovita has added an egg products line to its egg farms. Other EU processors that have invested in plants in Poland include Weko (Netherlands) and Eurovo (Italy).

Portugal Derivados de ovos (DDO Ovoprodutos), the only egg products manufacturer, has managed considerable growth mainly through exports to Spain. Some 50 per cent of output is exported. It has acquired Induovo (Spain) which includes a recently built plant in Asturias with egg powder facilities.

Romania Processing is on a small scale with only two concerns processing surplus table eggs Avicola Buftea and Agricola International Bacau. Monaldi (Italy) owns the largest egg farm, and has recently added a processing facility.

Spain The industry has grown rapidly. Pascual, the leader has added a line for Spanish omelettes (tortilla). Induovo has been acquired by the Portugese DDO, which also has a co-operation agreement with Dervo. Hibramer, a leading egg producer, has built a processing facility. Other processors include ACE, Procasa, Nutme, Ovosec and Copain has increased its capacity.

Sweden This country has two processors Källbergs (owned by Denmark's Danegg), which specialises in dried items, while Svenska Lantägg is oriented towards liquid products.

Switzerland Although not a EU member it is an important buyer of eggs and products from the EU. Some 39 per cent of total egg consumption is egg products, of which 95 per cent are imported. There are several relatively small processors of which Luchinger+Schmidt AG in Kloten is the biggest. This company markets 1,500 different items. Eier Hungerbühler in Flawil is probably the second largest producer.

United Kingdom Several companies have gone out of business or been taken over n the past 10 years. The UK is an egg-importing country, buying products mainly from other EU states. After merging with Stonegate Farms, Dean Foods changed its name to Noble Foods. Framptons the leading independent, non-integrated processor has sold its share in AEP Holdings Ltd called Quality Egg Products in Northern Ireland, to Ready Egg (Ireland). Both Daylay (Noble) and Framptons have extended shelf-life products marketed in small packs. Griffiths (Oakland) has added an in-line breaking facility to its farm. Oasters have installed a line for mayonnaise and salads. Worldwide Egg Products (Manton Group) has modernised existing plants and increased capacity, as have Bumblehole Eggs, Lowrie and D. Wise Ltd.

- You can view other articles in our series Global Poultry Trends by clicking here.

April 2011
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