Submitted to: National Egg Quality School Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2012
Publication Date: 5/21/2012
Citation: Jones, D.R. 2012. Handling Consumer Questions. National Egg Quality School Proceedings. May 20-23, 2012, Indianapolis, IN. 4:48-49.
Technical Abstract: Food can be a touchy subject. It seems people either have very strong thoughts and opinions on food or they could care less as long as food is available to feed them and their families. With the current economic environment, many individuals are examining food choices more closely to ensure the greatest nutrition for their families at the lowest costs. This is a golden opportunity for the egg industry. As we have learned in earlier presentations, eggs are a highly affordable food of great nutritional value. It is important for those of us involved in the world of eggs to not only understand the facts about eggs, but to be prepared to discuss them with consumers to enhance their understanding of the role eggs can play in affordable, nutritionally sound, food choices for their families. Many people are “information hounds” who turn to their computers or smart devices to quickly ascertain the answers to their questions. Unfortunately, the information they discover is not always accurate. This presentation will contain a sampling of some of the more common consumer questions pertaining to eggs and egg products. Being prepared to answer consumer questions in an informative manner helps to break down the channels of miscommunication and is also a wonderful marketing tool. What is the difference between brown and white eggs? I had always heard that brown eggs were more nutritious and that was why they cost more. The only difference between brown and white eggs is the type of hen that lays them. Different breeds of hens lay different colored eggs. The reason brown eggs cost more is not because they are more nutritious, but is due to the fact that brown egg layers have a lower feed efficiency (they eat more feed to produce the same number of eggs as a white egg layer) leading to increased feed costs. There are so many different shell eggs on the market today, how do I tell the difference among them? Reduced cholesterol eggs: These eggs have generally been found not to be a negative factor in cholesterol reduction diets. The method by which these eggs contain a lower amount of cholesterol depends on the producer. Many alter the diets of the hens so that the eggs they produce are lower in cholesterol than regular shell eggs. In some cases, genetics have been altered in the birds themselves. There are some questions as to the actual amount of cholesterol contained in these eggs and if labeling claims are accurate. Free-range eggs: The definition of these eggs depends in part on the guidelines of the state in which they are marketed. In some states, free-range eggs are considered to be those produced by hens that are not housed in cages. In other states, the requirement for free-ranged eggs might be that the hens are confined in the outdoors (outside of a commercial laying house.) Organic eggs: The new National Organic Program, Final Rule went into effect on February 20, 2001. In this rule (7 CFR 205), there are definitions as to what is allowable under the “organic” label. Some examples applicable to shell egg production would include: • hens must be maintained under continuous organic management no later than the second day of life • feed must be composed of organic products • hens may not be fed any mammalian or poultry slaughter by-products • only approved synthetic medications or parasiticides may be utilized You may also encounter consumers who have read somewhere that organic eggs are better for human consumption than traditional shell eggs. Organic eggs are marketed to meet a consumer niche and offer variety and choice in the shell egg market. Fertile eggs: Basically, a rooster is somewhere around when the eggs were produced. There is no guarantee that the eggs purchased are actually fertile. In order to tell if an egg is fertile, you would have to examine the germinal disc to see if fertilization