November 25, 2020

1.4 National Egg Sector Profiles

The Netherlands


Egg consumption in 2010 increased by one egg per person to reach 185 eggs per capita. Of this figure, 134 are alternative eggs, (including deep litter eggs, organic and free range eggs). The use of eggs in processed products such as ice-cream, cakes and pastries stabilised at 43 eggs per capita.


The Netherlands is a major producer of eggs and egg products. The majority of production, two thirds, is exported. Dutch supermarkets sell only eggs produced according to the IKB quality regulations, as shown by the IKB logo on the packaging. In the Netherlands there are about 35 million hens laying almost 10 billion eggs a year.
The laying hen population increased in 2010 by nearly two million to reach 33.7 million birds. The number of farms rose in 2010 by 18 to 1,126. The number of animals held in alternative housing systems in particular grew. In 2010, the total laying hen population consisted of 13 % free-range hens and 3 % organic hens. Egg production for 2010 was calculated to be 10.1 billion eggs: 300 million more than in 2009.

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Watch this English spoken video to get a good impression on the Dutch egg sector and the quality standards
(source: Product Board for Poultry and Eggs).



  • Estimated egg consumption in Spain in 2010 is 13’7 kg per capita/year. From this, 8’7 is used as shell eggs at home and the food service sector. The rest is estimated to go to industries (egg products industry and other food industries).
  • Most of Spanish egg consumption comes from hens in cages (95% production in 2010). About 3% of consumption is in form of free range eggs and other 1’5% form barn eggs. Only less than 0’5% comes from organic (called “ecological” in Spain) eggs.
  • Patterns of consumption at home differs widely related economic and social factors: to size of the family, age and activity (working out of home) of the housekeeper, age of the children, size of the city, region and socio-economic status. Usually singles, families with children, people  in big size cities and upper economic class eat less eggs than the average.


  • The total turnover of the egg sector in Spain in 2010 895 Million €.
  • The self sufficiency of the egg sector in Spain was 116%. So, Spain is a major export of eggs and egg products in the EU market.
  • The laying hen population in Spain in 2010 reach 44 million birds.
  • The number of farms this year is 1370, 138 farms less than 2009. The number of animals held in alternative housing systems is extremely low in Spain.
  • Egg production for 2010 was 756.200 metric tons. It represents 7,1% of the Spanish livestock production and a 2,3% of the Spanish agricultural production.
  • In 2010, the laying hens population was 42 millions (95,7%) in cages, 0,7 million (1,7%) in deep litter, 1 million (2.4 %) in free-range and 0,05 million (0.1 %) organic hens.



The Portuguese egg sector is almost self-sufficient; it does not have a major oversupply or shortage and can meet the demand of the domestic market for eggs. A small portion is imported from other countries.

Consumption of eggs (kg/head/year): Portugal

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
9,1 9,1 9,1 9,1 9,0 8,9

Portugal has a fragmented production structure with a relatively large number of producers and small average flock sizes. This production structure is accompanied by low concentration at the egg packer level. In these non-integrated systems, producers will either own their own packing station, or have arrangements to sell to independent packers who will bundle supplies on short-term contracts from a relatively limited number of producers.

The processing sector is much more concentrated than the packing sector, Portugal has only one processor. EU processors like this tend to focus on breaking second quality eggs, mainly for the domestic market and usually liquid products only.

Production of eggs (in 1000 tonnes): Portugal

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
117 124 125 126 132 120 119 122 124 125

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United Kingdom

The UK is the 6th largest egg producer in the EU and is home to 33 million laying hens. The UK is 82% self sufficient in eggs and egg products. The UK table egg industry is estimated to be worth £561m. In 2010, the volume of egg production for human consumption was 826 million dozen from the following farming methods: 50% cages; 42% free range and 8.3% (barn and organic).

The egg industry in England and the wider UK is perhaps the most advanced livestock sector in terms of self reliance, independence from Government intervention, supply chain integration and marketing of products. It has adopted the latest technology and working practices, having responded to the call of successive governments who encouraged the private sector to improve efficiency (by reducing costs and adding value by innovation).

The UK egg industry has strong and professional representative bodies whose principal function is to represent the interests of its Members in discussions with Government, MPs, the European Commission, European Parliament, and other bodies: the principal one being the British Egg Industry Council.  There are a few specialist trade associations which includes The British Free Range Producers Association (BFREPA) and the United Kingdom Egg Producers Association (UKEPRA) that represent a lot of the smaller independent egg producers.

The latest national statistics produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on UK egg packing and processing were released on 3 May 2012 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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2011 UK egg sector facts & figures British Egg Council  (industry estimates)



In Ireland the value of the egg market in 2010 was €81.0 million (retail market worth €69.7 million). Approximately 70% of the market is supplied from domestic production with the balance imported mainly from the North of Ireland.   There are  245 registered packers in the sector and a supply chain of over 2,000 egg farmers   The Irish Egg Association represents the interests of the main Irish Egg packing companies in Ireland (29 members and 300 employees) and accounts for over 95% of Irish table egg production.  All members sign up to the Bord Bia Egg Quality Assurance Scheme.  Per capita consumption of eggs in Ireland is well below the EU average.