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AEB Circulates Updated Nielsen Statistics for July


The American Egg Board (AEB) as a service to the industry recently made available Nielsen data reflecting 52-week rolling sales and consumption of eggs and egg products for the week ending July 17th 2021.  Nielsen data captures retail volume and sales value of shell eggs, consumer-packed liquid and cooked peeled eggs. Data is derived from supermarkets, groceries, dollar outlets, drug and convenience stores all with annual sales in excess of $2 million. Some club warehouses provide data but Costco is excluded.

The data assembled by Nielsen and distributed by the AEB for the past 52-weeks to July 17th documented 3.22 billion dozen egg-equivalents over the 52-week period. This represents 39.9 percent of 2020 egg production totaling 8.06 billion dozen or capture of approximately 65 percent of the shell egg segment of the industry.


  • For the 52-week period, retail sales of all egg categories (shell, consumer liquid, hard cooked, peeled) expressed as egg-equivalents decreased 2.5 percent.  Dollar value was 1.7 percent lower than the previous 52-week period.  Per capita consumption in 2020 advanced to 286.5 eggs representing a 2.4 percent decline as a result of COVID restrictions during the 1st Quarter of 2020. Direct comparisons between 2020 and 2021 are distorted by the late March and April 2020 panic buying in response to COVID restrictions. The projected per capita consumption of 285.3 eggs in all egg forms in 2021, is down 0.4 percent from 2020.


  • On a rolling 52-week basis, the volume captured by Nielsen comprising retail shell-egg sales attained 3.10 billion egg equivalent dozens representing a 2.9 percent decrease in volume and a 2.3 percent decrease in dollar value to $5.93 billion.  Egg alternatives including liquid, frozen and powdered egg products converted to equivalent dozens attained 94.2 million a 9.9 percent increase over the previous 52-week period and an 8.5 percent increase in value to $304.9 million. Rolling 52-week hard boiled peeled egg sales attained 30.7 million dozen amounting to a 3.6 percent increase in volume and a disproportionate 1.7 percent decline in value.


  • In classifying retail sales by product segment, conventional eggs represented 84.6 percent, cage-free 12.5 percent and organic 2.9 percent by proportion. Rolling 52-week conventional egg sales decreased 11.1 percent in volume and 14.3 percent in value.  Cage-free eggs decreased 0.4 percent in volume and increased 18.0 percent in value.  Organic eggs decreased 4.7 percent in volume and rose 16.3 percent in value.


  • With respect to volume of other than generic shell eggs, 52-week rolling branded egg sales comprised 29.2 percent of retail sales compared to 70.8 percent for private label.  Branded eggs generated 42.9 percent of dollar value compared to private label at 57.1 percent.  Branded eggs declined by 9.3 percent in volume and 8.4 percent in value.


  • In analyzing retail channels for shell eggs, 52-week rolling values compared to the previous period, supermarkets and groceries decreased by 11.7 percent, drugstores declined by 27.8 percent, convenience stores were down by 8.6 percent and the combination of club stores and dollar stores (excluding Costco- an important deletion given their volume) decreased by 6.3 percent presumably with the largest contribution from big-box club stores other than Costco.


In reviewing July USDA data there are 68.5 million hens in barns and aviary houses producing cage-free eggs, excluding 17.5 million non-caged hens under the Certified Organic program. The complement of cage-free hens represents 30.4 percent of an assumed population of 225 million hens in the shell-egg segment of production. If USDA data on hens under cage-free housing (aviaries and barns) are accurate and accepting the Nielsen data indicating a sales proportion of 12.5 percent for this category, more than half of cage-free eggs are down-marketed to conventional brown and white shelled product. If the Nielsen data is accurate the situation with Certified Organic is even more extreme with 7.8 percent of 225 million hens producing under the category but representing 2.9 percent of shell egg sales YTD. The differences between potential production and recorded sales cannot be ascribed to use of cage-free and organic eggs in egg liquids. The nominal (pre-COVID) complement of hens producing eggs for the breaking segment is estimated at 95 million, predominantly as generics.