Sales of eggs were pushed up as consumers traded up to more expensive free-range eggs, and poultry farmers faced higher production costs as poultry feed and energy prices were pushed up.
Welfare issues have increased in importance for consumers, today, three quarters of Brits (73%) eat free range eggs compared to a third who eat battery eggs.
Barn eggs have slowly increased their share of the market from a low base; however egg producers have been slow in communicating to consumers what barn eggs are.
Today, almost 12 million consumers feel own label eggs are no different from branded ranges, with just 4 million stating they prefer the branded options.
The health benefits of eggs are an important consideration for consumers, recent studies have revealed that eggs do not have a negative impact on cholesterol levels, but are actually good for health as they are high in protein and fatty acids. Egg producers should continue to reinforce and communicate the nutritional benefits of eggs as 17% of consumers eat fewer eggs now as they feel they are high in cholesterol.
Meanwhile, a third of consumers eat eggs because of their protein levels, with a further third eating eggs as they understand they form an important part of a healthy diet.
Consumers are ‘creatures of habit’ when buying eggs – only 16% are adventurous enough to have eaten three or more different types of eggs in the last year.
Eggs are primarily eaten for breakfast; consumption is however higher over the weekend (41%), compared to the weekday (27%) when time pressures restrict the amount of time spent at the breakfast table.
The convenience of eggs appeals to just under half of consumers, due to their ease of preparation and versatility.
Supermarkets remain the primary distribution channel for eggs, with a market share of 84%. With more shelf space than independent retailers, they are able to stock a wider selection of egg types, both branded and own-label, allowing consumers to choose the type of egg they want depending on their budget.
Smaller independent retailers stock a narrower selection of eggs, and as these retailers are more often used to top up a weekly shop, or in emergencies, consumers have less option but to buy whatever eggs are available at the different price points.