While we’ve heard it said many times of the COVID-19 pandemic, that ‘we’re all in the same boat’, we think that this statement couldn’t be further from the truth. It has completely shut some businesses down, while others are experiencing a higher demand and overnight ‘success’ so to speak. Some households are bored to tears, while families with children, and both parents working, are battling to juggle school responsibilities, working from home and household chores. The crisis we find ourselves in is unique to each individual, but despite these differences it has definitely brought us together as a globe, like never before. Looking closer to home, the Corona virus has had an unexpected effect on the egg industry. While the prelude to lockdown saw a considerable increase in egg sales, as would be expected while consumers stock pile, this increase has maintained. Several reasons have been hypothesised by Laura Brehaut in her article in the National Post (full article here) which we feel could apply to us here in South Africa as well. Eggs are the foundation for innumerable baked goods and recipes, and she states that ‘stress-baking has become a popular pandemic pastime’ with more people cooking at home as well. This demand will equalise though, as eggs that are normally sold to hotels and restaurants, are instead sold directly to consumers. Households will also have more time available without the daily work and school rush, so are likely relishing in more cooked breakfasts. Another interesting phenomenon is consumers that bought more eggs than usual, simply because there was a shortage, to avoid a situation where they may be without (as was seen with the toilet paper craze). This insatiable demand for eggs caused several Americans to turn to raising their own hens, the reward being twofold, companionship in a potentially lonely time and ‘free’ access to more eggs! Closer to home, those living in more rural parts of South Africa without access to a fridge or freezer, therefore unable to stock up on meat for lockdown, would need to rely more heavily on eggs as their protein source. As Laura Brehaut so rightly said, ‘If you have an egg, you have a meal’.
While those in the egg industry have certainly not found themselves without unique challenges posed by this pandemic, we at least still have an industry resembling the one we left behind pre-COVID-19 lockdown, unlike the travel and hospitality industries alike that have been decimated. We thus have a social responsibility to assist those who are not as fortunate and nourish our nation just like our humble egg.