Owing to increased egg consumption, the global egg market is expected to grow to USD 227.39 billion in 2021, from USD 213.13 billion last year. According to a study by ReportLinker, Asia Pacific was the largest region in the sector, accounting for 64% of the market in 2020, followed by North America, accounting for 14% of the market. The report expects the global egg market to reach USD 297.47 billion in 2025, growing at a CAGR of 7%.

The increasing rate of urbanization and industrialization has also amplified waste generation, wreaking havoc on climate conditions. In 2018, approximately 8.58 million metric tons of egg shells were dumped into landfills worldwide. But with increasing consumer demands and pressures on sustainable food production, the industry is rethinking ways to minimize waste by making use of everything that comes from the production process, more effectively and responsibly.

Although it is common knowledge that eggs belong to the naturally nutrient-packed food group, it is important to note that even egg shells are a calcium-rich commodity. Calcium is an essential mineral derived from egg shells and is used in various medical applications that include medicinal supplements, bone graft substitutes and denture bases. In the construction sector, egg shells can also be employed in the manufacturing of floor tiles and in cement to enhance its compressive strength. They can also be used in animal feed, plant fertilizer, batteries, inkjet printers, biodiesel production and in the removal of heavy metals from soil and water.

The European Economic Area and Norway grants have funded approximately €800,000 (USD 972,992) to initiate a three-year project entitled ‘Waste-to-resource: eggshells as a source for next generation biomaterials for bone regeneration’. Spearheaded by the Baltic Research Programme, a team of scientists from Riga Technical University (RTU), University of Oslo, Reykjavik University and Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) will work to extract calcium from egg shells. The team believes that when synthesized properly in the lab, the waste material could be the breakthrough needed to create biomaterials, particularly amorphous calcium phosphates (ACP), used in regenerating bones to treat bone fractures and other diseases related to the loss of bone mass. Although ACP is available commercially and used in dentistry to treat dental decay and aid in reducing sensitivity, its clinical usefulness has not been extensively studied.

Climate change and global warming are becoming an increasingly important issue for the food and beverage industry. In these conditions, science and technology are expected to advance and drive the industry towards a more sustainable and less resource-intensive future. The global egg market is expected to evolve further, delving into more clinical studies, and research and development (R&D), as companies move towards integrating big data analytics, industrial internet of things (IIoT), robotics and other technologies to recycle, reuse and reduce factory waste and foster more environmentally friendly practices.