LOCKDOWNS caused significant growth in egg sales, with lunchtime consumption a big winner for the sector as shoppers had more time mid-day.
According to Laura Sheard, Noble Foods’ marketing and innovation director, demand for eggs at retail spiked at each of the national lockdowns.
The first, in March 2020, saw supermarket sales rocket before falling back as the supply chain struggled to keep up.
Over the rest of the year, sales remained higher than in 2019 – for the most part significantly so, Ms Sheard told the Poultry.Network Live conference in late September.
January 2021’s lockdown saw higher volumes sold at retail than Christmas 2020 – normally egg sales peak over the festive period before dropping significantly in the New Year.
Lunchtime was the primary time that consumption increased, with shoppers spending more time cooking in the middle of the day.
Egg consumption amongst children increased, fried remained the most common cooking method and eggs in sweet baking gained the most share.
What Noble Foods did to manage supply
When lockdown first hit, Noble Foods had to “work hard” to transition supply from the foodservice sector into retail,” Ms Sheard said.
One example was redirecting white free-range eggs that would usually supply McDonald’s to Tesco. “Collaboration across the supply chain was really vital.”
The firm also introduced smaller pack sizes – from 15 to 12, 12 to 10, for example, putting more units on the shelves, giving more shoppers a chance to buy eggs.
Noble Foods also introduced plastic packaging, where pulp-based was unavailable, to keep stock on the shelves, Ms Sheard said.
“I feel a huge sense of pride in the way that we have responded to the challenges that were unthinkable just two years ago.
“We were able to adapt quickly and respond to customer needs,” she concluded.