18 Dec 2020

“ An egg a day, how simple is that? “

Producing eggs in a sustainable way, creating jobs and making eggs accessible to every world citizen. One egg a day for everyone, how simple is that? In a nutshell these are the long term objectives of  chairman Suresh Chitturi of the International Egg Commission (IEC). An IEC expert group has been formed to support these goals.  


By Ad Bal


“Eggs are the best protein of animal origin”, says Suresh Chitturi. “So what can we do to further benefit from eggs in human nutrition?” The vice chairman and managing director of Srinivasa Farms in India has a clear vision on how to further grow the world egg industry.

“We must realise that over 220 million children under the age of five were malnourished in 2019”, Chitturi says. “And not just that: 45% of deaths among children under five were linked to undernutrition. Moreover, it is reported that 1 in 9 people went hungry in 2018 and 2 billion capita out of the current 8 billion world population are moderately or severely food insecure. And the world population is to further grow to an expected 10 billion. So as IEC we also have a social responsibility to improve people’s lives through the reduction of these numbers and the egg business can play a fantastic role in this respect.”

For this purpose IEC formed the ‘Environmental Sustainability Expert Group’ (ESEG) in May 2020. The aim of this group is to enhance continuous development and improvement of sustainable practices throughout the egg value chain. It supports the Global Initiative for Sustainable Eggs (GISE), which is a multi-stakeholder initiative launched by the IEC to stimulate discussion and action that will carve the way for sustainable egg production for future generations. Its objective is to support the industry to continue to improve the environmental sustainability of global egg businesses by identifying and addressing areas of development to achieve the industry’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

Lead the way

According to Chitturi, this expert group will support the egg industry to continue to lead the way in global animal protein production, as the industry strives to continue to deliver an affordable, safe, sustainable and accessible form of nutrition for the planet’s growing population.

“The egg industry has already made tremendous progress during the past 50 years”, Suresh Chitturi says. “We managed to achieve a 70 percent reduction of input in feed resources over the past 35 years. And yet, there are many more opportunities ahead of us. We expect a further 30 to 50 percent reduction of feed resources in the upcoming 20 to 25 years. Automatically this will substantially reduce the output of manure and hence the burden on the environment.  Both factors are extremely important when egg consumption further increases.

In India consumption of 75 eggs per capita per year has been achieved and in the next 12-15 years we expect this to rise up to 180 eggs. The conditions in our country are to be compared with the African continent, so Africa might become a ‘replica’ of India.  Its population also counts over 1 billion, which is substantial. In feeding this growing population, we see tremendous opportunities for eggs.  These are not just an excellent source of protein, eggs also contain many essential vitamins.

And don’t underestimate employment which is related to the egg business. We must realise that for every additional egg consumed per capita globally, 40.000 jobs are created!

“Consequently, our job (IEC), is to educate the world on the many benefits eggs offer as a sustainable and affordable source of high-quality nutrition. And aid egg producers to continue to make improvements which support the environment and their businesses through efficiency gains.”

Improve practices

The Environmental Sustainability Expert Group plays an important role in this respect. It is a task force of 9 people, consisting of leaders in the fields of environment and sustainability who support our industry in achieving its commitments.  “We are bringing together independent environmental specialists who can share their expertise on environmentally-sound food production, in addition to professional sustainability experts with egg specific knowledge, to support us in the sharing of best practice and information to improve the environmental sustainability of global egg businesses. The IEC’s Value Chain partner, DSM, is supporting this global initiative as they share a strong interest in supporting the industry to deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“We recognise that all countries are at their own stage in their sustainability journey, and it is important that we can continue to support all our members to continue to improve sustainability practices. Currently, India and China together represent 50 percent of the world egg production already. In 2040 we expect Asia and Africa to produce 70 percent of the world egg volume. It is important that this growth is done in a sustainable manner, therefore a strong focus of the group will be on these developing regions.  This will take time of course, and it is an ongoing process for the next 20 years or so. However, I am confident that we will manage to achieve our goals.  And let every world citizen eat one egg a day. How simple is that?”




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