Preparing for egg supply crisis

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Bakery manufacturers face the threat of rising egg prices – and even shortages – when new Europe wide animal welfare legislation comes into force on 1 January. But they could avoid taking a hit by specifying egg replacers instead, according to Arla Foods Ingredients.

The Welfare of Laying Hens Directive will ban the use of cramped battery cages, forcing egg producers to use larger ‘enriched’ cages that allow laying hens more space to perch and move around.

However, as many as 13 countries across the European Union, including Spain, Italy and Poland, have admitted that their egg industries will not be ready to meet the new requirements in time for the New Year – sparking fears of availability problems and higher prices.

The looming crisis has prompted Arla Foods Ingredients to urge bakery manufacturers to consider using egg replacement products – such as Nutrilac – to protect themselves from growing uncertainty in the market.

John Gelley, sales director for EU Bakery at Arla Foods Ingredients, says, “No-one knows for sure what impact the Directive will have. But with so many member states admitting that they are unprepared for the changes, there are worrying signs that bakers could face difficulties sourcing sufficient eggs for their needs or, at the very least, significantly higher prices.”

He continues, “Egg replacement ingredients, such as our own Nutrilac range, offer the perfect solution to avoiding this uncertainty. They perform just like eggs in a host of bakery applications, and enable companies to maintain product quality and all-important clean label status.”

Manufactured from fractionated whey proteins, Nutrilac egg replacers offer several advantages over eggs. They are less expensive than eggs, they are lower in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol than eggs, they have a longer shelf life than eggs – up to 18 months – and they produce great tasting end products.

Gelley says, “We’re confident that bakers will be delighted by the benefits of egg free baking with Nutrilac – and there’s no doubt that the onset of the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive means now is the ideal time to make the switch.”

The Welfare of Laying Hens Directive comes into force across the EU on 1 January 2012. It prevents hens being kept in cages with less than 45cm of headroom and 750cm2 of floor space. It also obliges egg producers to provide perches and litter to allow the hens to nest, peck and scratch.

 Source: Confectionery Production