Good news for egg sector as retail sales continue to grow

Retail egg sales have grown by more than half in just over a decade, as the sector continues to invest in market promotion and focus on high-quality production standards.

According to latest Kantar data, 2019 UK sales volume rose by 3.4% on the previous year, to 6.6bn eggs, equating to additional sales of around 220m eggs.

See also: New Lion standards agreed for barn egg producers

In value terms, the market was up 2.5% in 2019, to around £942m – the 13th consecutive year of growth, marking a 50% increase over 2008 levels.

“This is phenomenal for an established market with such high penetration,” said British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) chairman Andrew Joret.

“Sales have remained positive this year, too, with the latest four-week volume and value figures showing growth of 4.8% and 1.4%, respectively.”

Drilling down into the sales data, it is evident that all consumer demographics are buying more eggs.

However, growth is primarily being driven by shoppers aged 18-44, who ate an average of 249 eggs/household in 2019, which is up 61% since 2008.

See also: How a layer unit expanded rapidly with focus on welfare

Eggs up, meat down

The BEIC points to the trend for healthy eating for the sales increase, as well as the reduction in meat eating, with eggs providing an alternative source of protein.

Tom Daley holding an egg

Olympic diver Tom Daley is a British Lion ambassador

“Consumer confidence in eggs is strong, bolstered by the Food Standards Agency advice that runny eggs are safe for vulnerable groups, so long as they are Lion,” added Mr Joret.

Earlier this year, BEIC announced a new £1.3m marketing investment for 2020, including a “Wonder Egg” campaign aimed at millennials.

Olympic diver Tom Daley, who is a British Lion ambassador, is also fronting a digital advertising campaign on BBC Good Food, while sharing egg recipes with his 7 million social media followers.

Tapping into the growth in podcasts, British Lion is also partnering with Table Manners, hosted by singer Jessie Ware, to run a series of 60 second adverts.

Safety code

Underpinning these initiatives is the British Lion Code of Practice – an independently audited food safety code, covering more than 700 auditable points, from salmonella vaccination to complete traceability of hens, eggs and feed.

Last year, the code was extended to cover barn eggs, to give producers more certainty as they prepare for the outright ban on cage-produced eggs by many retailers and some wholesalers from 2025.