Consumer demand for a springtime favorite is eggs-cellent

Published 5:49 pm Thursday, April 14, 2022

Spring is here, and with it come holidays perfect for a favorite protein: eggs.

Besides being delicious, eggs also are important to Virginia agriculture. In 2021, Virginia farmers produced 710 million eggs, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. Ranking among the top 20 commodities produced in the commonwealth, sales of eggs generated more than $94 million in cash receipts in 2020.

“Over the past 20 years, egg consumption has trended upward by 15%,” said Hobey Bauhan, president of the Virginia Poultry Federation and a member of Rockingham County Farm Bureau.

This increase has resulted in Americans consuming an average of 286 eggs annually, according to the USDA. U.S. poultry farms produced nearly 96 billion table eggs in 2021. The USDA forecasts 2022’s production will exceed last year’s by 1%.

While consumer demand remains strong throughout the year, there is an uptick during spring and around holidays as people use more eggs for cooking and baking special treats—and for egg hunts.

“Eggs are a great nutrient-dense source of protein for healthy diets,” explained Mary Rapoport, consumer affairs director for the Virginia Egg Council. “There are so many different nutrients and benefits that come with eggs. People are more and more aware of that, which is why we’ve seen an upward trend of egg consumption in recent years.”

Whether they’re eaten deviled, fried, scrambled or mixed into a salad, eggs are known for being nutritional powerhouses. They contain nutrients like iron, vitamins A and B, selenium, potassium and more—with only about 70 calories. Most of these nutrients are found in the yolks.

In addition, eggs help support heart, brain and eye health. They are one of the most concentrated sources of choline — vital for the nervous system — and help improve the body’s absorption of nutrients in vegetables, including vitamin E and carotenoids.

They’re also one of the most affordable proteins at the grocery store. While inflation has increased prices overall, the retail price of eggs is tracking with general inflation.

“Eggs and other poultry products remain a good value for consumers compared to some other protein options available,” Bauhan noted.