Progressive Grocer

AUG 2015

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August 2015 | | 77 hens today are raised by our farmer-members using various housing and egg production practices," says Chad Gregory, president and CEO of Alpharetta, Ga.-based United Egg Producers (UEP) , a coopera- tive of egg farmers from across the United States that represents the ownership of about 95 percent of the nation's egg-laying hens . "United Egg Producers fully supports having choices available in the marketplace, and that support is refected in the diversity of eggs ofered by America's egg farmers. For retailers or foodser- vice operators wishing to provide more cage-free eggs in their supply, America's egg farmers will work to meet those requests, while ensuring the health and well-being of the hens they raise." Within the egg category, there are certain pat- terns of growth in the cage-free, free-range and or- ganic sectors. SPINS, a Schaumburg-based provider of retail consumer insights, analytics and consulting for the natural, organic and specialty products indus- try, found that sales of eggs with a free-range claim in natural supermarkets, specialty supermarkets and conventional multioutlet stores, excluding Walmart Egg Glossary Cage-free eggs: Eggs from birds not raised in cages, but in an open environment in a floor setting. Free-range eggs: Eggs from birds that can venture in and out of the barn. Organic eggs: Eggs from birds that are generally cage-free, consume organic feed and aren't treated with antibiotics. Pasteurized eggs: Eggs that undergo a pasteurization process to reduce risk of foodborne illness associated with eggs that are raw or lightly cooked. In the United States, many birds are still kept in housing systems called battery cages. The European Union Council banned traditional battery cages in Europe in 2012, due to animal welfare concerns. Data by the Dozen Market research bears out growing demand for a greater variety of eggs, and eggs in general. After several years of fat or declin- ing sales, eggs are trending up. Ac- cording to data from Chicago-based market research frm IRI, sales of refrigerated eggs have reached nearly $6.2 billion, up 9.97 percent from the last 52 weeks ending June 14, 2015. Likewise, data from Schaumburg, Ill.- based Nielsen reveal a 10.6 increase in dollar sales from 2013 to 2014.

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