Blog: Dean BestIngredient firms see opportunity in high egg prices

Dean Best | 26 March 2012

Kerry Group and Arla Foods have been quick to highlight how they can help food manufacturers facing soaring egg prices in the wake of the new EU rules on animal welfare.

Egg prices across Europe have jumped in the wake of the introduction of legislation on how hens are caged. A number of EU member states failed to comply with the new rules by the time they went into action on 1 January, hitting the trade in eggs, as companies that had not met the regulations were banned from exporting. There has been an obvious impact on manufacturers of products from cakes to quiches: the prices of eggs on wholesale markets have leapt.

On Friday, Irish food group Kerry released a statement that outlined how they could "help" manufacturers.

"With confectionery, biscuit and cake manufacturers across Europe reported to be on the brink of closure due to an EU-wide egg shortage, Kerry Ingredients & Flavours has a range of hydrolysed protein solutions to help confectionery manufacturers experiencing production difficulties," the company said.

Kerry pointed to its Hyfoama ingredient, an alternative to albumen, the protein derived from egg whites used in biscuits and confectionery.

"Albumen, the protein derived from egg white, has traditionally been used by manufacturers of aerated confectionery such as nougat and marshmallow. With the egg shortage, and the fact that the price of liquid egg white has risen by 41.3% year-on-year, and in recent weeks has been reported as rising in excess of  70%, confectionery manufacturers are under real price pressure," Kerry director Tom Schmedes said. "Hydrolysed proteins are a recognised replacement for albumen, and, depending on process and recipe, just 40g of Hyfoama™ hydrolysed protein can replace 100kg of egg white."

Arla, meanwhile, believes sales of its egg replacers will double this year. The company said it sold enough of his Nutrilac ingredients in 2011 to replace 20,000 liquid eggs in bakery products; this year, it expects that figure to reach 40,000 tonnes.

John Gelley, sales director for EU bakery at Arla Foods Ingredients, said: "The impact of the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive on egg prices has been huge, and as a result many bakery companies have been switching to our Nutrilac egg replacers as a more cost-effective alternative. The first quarter of this year has seen a big spike in sales of our egg replacers and, since market prices for eggs show no signs of softening, we anticipate this trend will continue."


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