Towards the ‘Uberization’ of the egg industry?

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Novel egg packaging

The egg industry needs to evolve in order to maintain its prominence and marketshare. What should it do? | Benjamín Ruiz

The egg industry is active. The International Egg Commission (IEC) business meeting in Monte Carlo, Monaco just ended this week. One of the recurring topics that I got from conversations with people and presentations was the need to evolve in the egg industry.

The need to evolve lies in the title of this blog. When Uber entered the market, it impacted users and taxi drivers. The latter used to have a captive market and basically had the same service worldwide. They did not innovate. And the market changed.

Professors David Hughes and Charles Spence, in separate presentations at the IEC meeting talked about egg marketing. There were many important aspects, such as the non-evocative way in which eggs are displayed in supermarkets: with zero attractiveness for the consumer.

But another important aspect was the competition that already exists in Europe, with the megatrend of other protein foods and the impact on the egg industry.

There is great interest in plant-based proteins. Not because people want to go vegetarian, but because they want options in their diets. Not only proteins that mimic meat, but also legume dishes such as oriental-style lentils.

High-protein bread was also mentioned, or grains like quinoa or amaranth, and the whole string of “ancient grains” (which, by the way, we in Latin America have always eaten). So, if consumers want to eat more protein, they do no need to eat more meat or eggs. What!?

We already have the example of dairy. Some thirty years ago, more or less, only fresh milk and one or two brands of yogurt were found in supermarkets in many parts of the world. Today, there is a wide variety of milks, yogurts, cheeses and other dairy products. The dairy industry evolved with added value, although substitutes are creeping in, such as almond or soy milk.

The egg offered to consumers has hardly changed. So, are we going to face the “Uberization” of the egg market? I guess we shouldn’t wait to have the problem on top of us to do something about it. What do you think?

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