Our 2020 Young Egg Leaders Programme brings together seven dynamic future leaders, representing egg businesses from around the world. Over the next three months we will be featuring each of our Young Egg Leaders to gain their thoughts on the challenges, threats and opportunities that lie ahead of the industry.

This month Bryce McCory of Rose Acre Farms, USA, and Darya Byelikova of Ovostar Union, Ukraine, share their views.

What are the top business issues on your mind?

Bryce: The top business issue on my mind currently is COVID-19. The full economic and social impacts it will have on our society have yet to be determined. More specifically we are still unsure of the long-term changes in the egg industry, particularly in legislation, customer demand shifts, and changes to animal welfare standards seen as a result.

Darya: The way I see it, labour availability, trade deals and market fluctuations are currently ruling the roost in our industry. Egg production and processing could not be fully automated, therefore, it is crucial for companies to invest in human capital as the easiest way to retain trained and talented staff. It should not go unspoken, that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the level of uncertainty and risks in trading, as every country has taken a different approach to deal with it. Based on high external risks market fluctuations are unpredictable which require fast and certain management actions.

What are the key threats for the egg industry?

Bryce: The biggest threat I see for the egg industry is a uninformed public view of the egg industry. There have been many different views of the egg industry promoted by various organisations - some positive, while others have been negative. The conflicting ideas are on a variety of topics that include animal welfare and if eggs are a healthy food source – this has led to confusion about what the facts are. I truly believe the best way to inform the public about what is real is to be transparent, and we can all play a role in this.

Darya: Diseases are among the main threats to the egg industry. Avian Influenza cases are rising in some countries, and all together, being a powerful industry, we should cooperate to find solutions how to diminish the threat. The other warning I see is that some food manufacturers are excluding eggs from their recipes and replacing them with ingredients with a more stable price. And this is happening even in spite of the fact that eggs are the main source of healthy and affordable protein.

What is the biggest untapped opportunity for the egg industry?

Bryce: The biggest untapped opportunity I see for the egg industry is finding a way to move eggs out of the grocery store. What I mean by this is further processing of eggs that allows eggs to be sold on online stores. Creating products that are on trend with being health and available online could open a huge opportunity to drive customer demand.

Darya: I believe that the value of an egg as a source of high quality low fat protein is not sufficiently popularised in many countries around the world. The egg industry proposes a fantastic product, which is healthy, irreplaceable and environmentally friendly. That is why every business working here has a responsibility to provide their consumers information about the egg nutritional value and their impact on health and well-being. As the result, it will lead to industry sustainable development and long lasting growth.