KANSAS CITY — What egg ingredients have — protein in the form of essential amino acids —- presents a marketing opportunity for food and beverage companies. Other opportunities come from what egg ingredients do not have. They are gluten-free and functional in many applications.
The International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2016 Food and Health Survey found 64% of respondents said they were trying to consume protein, which ranked first among all items and was up from 54% in the 2015 survey. The 2016 survey also revealed 20% said they were trying to avoid gluten.
Another survey from the Natural Marketing Institute, Harleysville, Pa., and Informa Group, London, asked consumers what products they use to get more protein. Eggs ranked No. 1 at 70%, ahead of dairy and lean meats, each at 66%.
The types of protein found in eggs also are important.
“Amino acids, commonly referred to as the ‘building blocks of protein,’ perform much of the work credited to protein,” said John Howeth, senior vice-president, food service and egg product marketing for the American Egg Board, Park Ridge, Ill. “The amino acid composition of a protein determines the quality of different types of proteins.
“Amino acids are classified as either essential or nonessential. The body cannot produce essential amino acids (E.A.A.), identified as histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine, so they must be obtained through the diet. The protein in eggs is highly digestible and provides much of the essential amino acids. In virtually every method used to evaluate protein quality and digestibility, egg proteins consistently rank highly along with milk proteins.”
A whole egg provides 6 grams of protein, said Mindi McKibbin, new product development manager, research and development, for Rembrandt Foods, Spirit Lake, Iowa. Dried egg whites, which are about 80% protein, can boost protein levels in bakery applications, including protein-fortified waffles and pancake mixes, she said. Dried egg whites also may be added to protein bars, where they act as a binder for other ingredients.
Another health benefit of egg yolk comes from choline content. The Institute of Medicine has age-specific and gender-specific Adequate Intakes for choline based on intakes necessary to maintain liver function. This year the Food and Drug Administration set a Reference Daily Intake of 550 mg for choline. Eggs rank as an “excellent source” of choline and selenium and as a “good source” of protein, riboflavin, vitamin D and phosphorus.
In gluten-free products, egg ingredients may help with the structure, leavening and binding that are lost when gluten is removed from baked foods such as bread, pizza crust, waffles and pancake mixes, Ms. McKibbin said. Egg ingredients may offer benefits in aeration, texture/color, foaming/whipping, crystallization control, structure and emulsification.
A change in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was positive for eggs. While the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommended limiting consumption of dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day, that recommendation is not included in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
“But this change does not suggest that dietary cholesterol is no longer important to consider when building healthy eating patterns,” the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans said. “As recommended by the I.O.M. (Institute of Medicine) individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible while consuming a healthy eating pattern. In general, foods that are higher in dietary cholesterol, such as fatty meats and high-fat dairy products, are also higher in saturated fats.”
One large egg has 1.5 grams of saturated fat per 50 grams.
Turning to supply, prices for egg ingredients have fallen as the industry rebounds from last year’s avian influenza outbreak. Dried egg whites were trading at $4.15@$4.25 per lb, f.o.b. plant, on July 1, which compared to $17.75 per lb. a year ago. Dried egg yolks were trading at $2.25@$2.35 per lb, f.o.b. plant, on July 1, which compared with $6.75 per lb a year ago.