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Eggs Market Analysis

Egg production requires feed inputs from cultivated crops as part of the wider agribusiness commodities market, and its output is the eggs from laying hens, also known as layers, as well as those layers that are slaughtered. US egg production and domestic consumption are both at all-time highs. While eggs on their own are extremely popular to eat, they are also an input in a host of other foods and sauces such as mayonnaise. Eggs are a staple food around the world, and generally one of the most inexpensive protein sources.

Key facts about the global eggs market
  • US domestic egg production was nearly 98.6 billion eggs in 2019. US domestic egg consumption has increased 16% over the past 20 years, up to 289 eggs per capita.
  • The largest egg producing company in the world is Cal-Maine at around 40 million layers. Proteina Animal (PROAN) from Mexico is second at 33 million hens. In the US Cal-Maine (which encompasses Hillendale Farms) is followed by Rose Acre Farms.
  • While most eggs are consumed with the domestic market they are produced in, the Netherlands, US, Poland, and Turkey are the world’s largest exporters. Mexico has been building up its egg industry and is expected to compete with the US in the Western Hemisphere.
  • In the US, the region that has gained the most in egg production has been the Midwest, especially the states of Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio as producers move their operations closer to where feed grains are grown.
  • The main price driver in the egg industry is feed costs – primarily corn. While egg prices are extremely volatile, seasonality is of great importance, with prices rising around international holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Key themes affecting the eggs market

The primary concern on the farmer side for eggs is feed input costs. As feed costs rise above levels at which producers can remain profitable hens must be taken out of production. Egg prices, however, are not tied to input costs, but rather market demand. There is strong seasonality in the egg industry, with prices spiking around the US Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas.

Another important factor is the popularity of promotions at the retail store level. The greater number of supermarkets using eggs as a “low-price” leader to drive traffic the greater boost to demand, and thus an increase in price. The number of layers, pullets, and chicks being hatched are all important metrics to follow when considering future egg prices. Of utmost importance of late is the transition from traditional battery-cage housed laying hens to “cage-free.”

In the US, California, Michigan, Oregon, Washington, and more states have passed (and many others are seeking to pass) legislation that bans traditional battery-cage egg production. Besides legislation increasing the need for cage-free eggs, over 120 companies in the US have pledged to transition their egg offerings fully to cage-free. By January 2026 over two-thirds of the US egg industry will need to transition to cage-free laying production in order to meet current pledges and requirements (not to mention any new pledges or laws further spurring cage-free demand). As cage-free deadlines draw nearer, it is important to watch regional egg prices as demand patterns shift. As US per capita consumption has been increasing for eggs population grown tied to that is important to consider, along with rising incomes in developing nations.

Caribbean nations have provided some export opportunities for US producers (as has Mexico) and those economies strengthening could spur them on to increase purchasing. Going forward it will be important to track the impact of the coronavirus, as China recently ended its ban on US poultry products. The US-Japan Free-Trade Agreement should benefit US egg exports to Japan, and as other bilateral discussions are taking place the US could expand export opportunities.

Egg product prices
201720182019
Average Egg Industry Margin -$0.018 per dozen$0.322 per dozen-$0.086 per dozen
Cartoned Egg Margin $0.039 per dozen$0.374 per dozen-$0.074 per dozen
USDA Dried Whole Eggs $2.22 per pound$3.34 per pound$2.35 per pound
USDA Frozen Whole Eggs $0.65 per pound $0.89 per pound$0.61 per pound

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Our Food and Agricultural Commodities Market Reporting service is the market leader in updates and news on the agricultural commodity and processed food markets, with modular channel access available across the breadth of traded food, including the international eggs market. Coverage spans from pricing news and key trends impacting production to incoming legislation and geopolitical impacts to the market. An IEG Vu subscription also includes access to a range of historic data tools covering pricing, trade volumes and production at a granular level.

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Our Food and Agricultural Commodities Economics service, powered by IEG Vantage, is the only service in the market that provides comprehensive analysis of near-term market developments for the 12 months ahead, from market trends to supply-demand, production and price forecasts. Eggs coverage includes whole egg markets, layers and processed egg products. Subscriptions also include daily market commentary to provide context for daily trading and procurement workflow needs.

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