Global Egg Production – Key Consumer Trends & How Nutrition Plays a Role
Eggs are an incredible source of nutrients and a valued food worldwide. With their unique nutritional profile, eggs are part of a sustainable solution to feeding the world. According to Urner Barry’s Reporter, U.S. consumers make purchases based on their understanding of on-farm practices and egg labels, which reflect many aspects including claims on housing facilities (i.e. cage-free or free-range), animal welfare, and even bird nutrition. Despite the household presence of eggs as a staple grocery, there is generally low consumer knowledge on the entirety of global egg production systems – or simply how did this egg make its way from a hen house to their house. Today, I would like to focus on how the hen’s nutrition management plays a key role in consumers’ purchasing decisions.
Nutritional strategies that also focus on environmental concerns, such as reducing the amount of volatile compounds (i.e. ammonia) being excreted in poultry litter and manure, can help achieve sustainable practices on a flock level. Feeding more digestible protein sources in a diet can mitigate undigested proteins – a source of nitrogen in the urine and feces – from ending up in the manure. More specifically, feeding more complete and digestible sources of amino acids makes the bird more efficient at digesting these protein building blocks. Hence, less resulting nitrogen in the birds’ waste and environment.
Higher quality ingredients like ExPress® soymeal offer a highly digestible source of amino acids and energy. A recent layer feeding trial at Virginia Tech showed birds fed ExPress® soymeal had a 2% better feed conversion rate compared with those fed hexane-extracted soybean meal. As such, birds fed ExPress® soymeal consumed 0.7 g/day less feed and produced 0.6 g/day more egg mass. More efficient production can reduce losses in the form of nitrogen-containing compounds, which helps with more sustainable management practices on farm.
Time and time again – see here & here – animals fed extruded ingredients resulted in better animal performance due to higher amino acid and energy digestibilities. Choosing higher quality ingredients, like ExPress® soymeal supports key consumer trends around sustainable global egg production. Furthermore, these practices can sway the consumer’s purchasing decisions based on their understanding of how animal nutrition plays a significant role in a more sustainable production of meat, milk, and eggs.