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‘Regular’ Eggs Purchased 40:1 over Cage-Free in U.S.


May 20, 2010
By United Egg Producers

Topics

NEWS HIGHLIGHT

'Regular' Eggs Purchased 40:1
over Cage-Free in U.S.

American
consumers continue to buy "regular" eggs over cage-free eggs by a
margin of 40-to-1, according to data from Information Resources, Inc.
(IRI) which tracks checkout scanner data from 34,000 grocery, drug and
mass merchandiser stores across the U.S.

May 20, 2010 – American
consumers continue to buy "regular" eggs over cage-free eggs by a
margin of 40-to-1, according to data from Information Resources, Inc.
(IRI) which tracks checkout scanner data from 34,000 grocery, drug and
mass merchandiser stores across the U.S.

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"Regular"
eggs produced in traditional cage housing systems continued to be the
most popular eggs among supermarket shoppers, accounting for 92 percent
of the 21 billion eggs bought at retail last year, according to the IRI
data. According to the data, cage free eggs only account for 2% of all
retail eggs bought, and organic/free range eggs accounted for only 1
percent. Sales of all three types of eggs were relatively flat compared
to the previous year, with organic/free range egg sales falling by 1.67
percent, cage free eggs up slightly by 1.25 percent and regular eggs
down less than 1 percent, all of which are statistically immaterial
changes from the previous year.

"Our farmers produce all of these types of eggs, and more,"
said Gene Gregory, president of United Egg Producers, a national farmer
cooperative and trade association for America's egg farmers.

"We've always said that consumers should be free to choose which types
of eggs they prefer to buy, based on their own personal opinions and
abilities to pay. It's disturbing to see animal rights activists try to
force retailers and restaurant companies take away that consumer choice
by making them buy only cage free eggs, especially when regular eggs
have similar nutritional content. This data clearly indicates that
consumers…when given free choice…still prefer regular eggs to cage
free or other types of eggs by an overwhelming majority."

The average advertised price for one dozen Large, Grade A eggs
from hens in traditional cage housing today is $1.10, according to the
latest USDA statistics (April 30, 2010). Cage free eggs are nearly
three times more expensive ($2.99 per dozen) and organic/free range
eggs are four times more expensive ($4.38 per dozen) than eggs from
hens in traditional cage housing, according to USDA.

Other research presented at the meeting of America's egg
farmers showed that American consumers pay nearly three times less for
eggs than European consumers, according to data compiled from the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics and Eurostat analyzed by Promar
International, a Washington D.C. economic consulting firm.

On average, U.S. consumers paid $1.63 for one dozen eggs (a
weighted average of regular eggs, cage free and free range) in the
U.S., compared to $5.81 in Luxembourg, $5.76 in Denmark, $5.54 in
Austria, $5.19 in Ireland and $4.89 in the United Kingdom. U.S. egg
farms tend to be larger and more efficient than many European egg
farms, and Europe also is adding new and costly requirements for
changes in housing systems for egg-laying hens that could cause severe
egg shortages and higher prices in the coming years.

In other research presented at the meeting, a nationwide
survey of Americans showed that while consumers still overwhelmingly
buy "regular" eggs by a margin of 40-to-1 over cage free eggs and
90-to-1 over organic/free range eggs, they also support the use of
"enriched colony housing" systems that are being phased in by many
European egg farmers.

Nearly one-third of Americans would choose that type of egg housing for
egg-laying hens in their state if they had a choice, according to the
survey conducted by independent research agency Bantam. Enriched colony
housing systems provide hens more space and the ability to nest,
scratch and perch unlike most of the egg housing systems used today.