The IEC’s (International Egg Commission) Economic Analyst, Peter Van Horne, undertook an investigation into the top egg producing countries in the world, and the growth of the global egg industry. He found that the last 10 years has seen remarkable growth in the global egg industry. Data from the FAO reveals that total egg production has risen from 61.7 million tonnes in 2008 to 76.7 million tonnes in 2018, that’s an increase of 15 million tonnes (+24.3%) in only 10 years. Figure 1 below illustrates the steady climb seen in global egg production since 2000.
Figure 1: Development of global egg production, 2000 – 2018 (FAO database)
One could argue that eggs are ubiquitous, a staple in every diet across the globe, translating into the need for an egg industry in each country worldwide due to the shelf life of these nutrient packed ovals. It comes as a rather surprising fact then, that the 10 top egg producing countries in the world account for a whopping 76% of the world’s total egg production. What is even more shocking is that in 2018 the top producing country was responsible for 34% of the world’s production (466 billion eggs), with the second ranked country (group of countries) producing a seemingly minor 9% in comparison. Without further ado, the top four egg producing regions are China, the EU, USA and India – responsible for almost 60% of the world’s eggs. Figure 2 below reveals the top 10 egg producing countries in the world according to the FAO database.
Figure 2: Top 10 egg producing countries (FAO database)
Following on from the information collected on the top egg producing countries, it would be interesting to see whether there is any correlation between production and egg consumption within these countries. First let’s look at the average world consumption of eggs in 2018 by dividing the total world production of eggs by the total world population of 7.6 billion people. The result is an average consumption of 161 eggs per person per year, that’s slightly over 3 eggs a week. In reality there is a large variation in egg consumption between countries. Peter van Horne used data from the IEC for 2018 to compare high egg consumption countries with low egg consumption countries. We are rather embarrassed that in his example he used Mexico (368 eggs/year, 7.1 eggs/week) and Japan (337 eggs/year, 6.5 eggs/week) to illustrate high egg consumption countries, and he used South Africa (130 eggs/year, 2.5 eggs/week) to illustrate low egg consumption countries ☹. Come on South Africa, ditch those sugar-laden breakfast cereals and fry yourself an egg!
Do the top egg producing countries all have a high egg consumption? No, and countries with large populations also exhibit varied consumption rates with China consuming 255 eggs/year, 4.9 eggs/week (ranked top egg producing country) and India 76 eggs/year, 1.5 eggs/week (ranked fourth egg producing country). The EU (ranked second egg producing region) average is 210 eggs per person per year (4.0 eggs per person per week), but there is much variation between its member countries. On average one Spaniard consumes 273 eggs in a year (5.2 eggs/week) and one Dane 248 eggs in a year (4.8 eggs/week), while on the lower end of the scale your average Pole consumes 145 eggs in a year (2.8 eggs/week) and one Portuguese consumes 146 eggs in a year (2.8 eggs/week).
What is the takeaway from all of this? EAT MORE EGGS! Why wouldn’t you want to eat more of a food item that isn’t further processed (pretty rare in current times), is inexpensive when evaluated in terms of the quality of protein it provides and in plain English is just darn good for you!