Doughnuts anyone?

Although national doughnut day is celebrated in June, Americans snap up these indulgent treats at a swift clip year-round. One unit of measurement, IRI convenience store (c-store) data showed doughnut sales grew by double digits for the first half of 2014 with no signs of a slowdown.

Americans are buying more healthy snacks, but within the category as a whole, Americans are buying more snacks in general. Baked goods grew by 12.8 percent as a percent change year over year comparing 2013 to 2014 and doughnuts alone grew by 13.2 percent.

Those figures don’t take into account the thousands of small, independent bakers who sell doughnuts alongside other baked items, but it’s safe to say Americans consume millions of doughnuts—daily.

Although I don’t know how it is possible out of a nation filled with creative bakers to choose the best version of any particular baked good, several stories pop up every year claiming to list the country’s best doughnuts. One such list included the Chocolate from Glazed and Infused in Chicago. You can never go wrong with chocolate. It’s hard to go wrong with bacon either. Another doughnut that made one list is a blog posting of a Maple Bacon confection with finely chopped, crispy bacon included in the batter and garnishing the maple-syrup glaze.

Both cake and yeast doughnuts use eggs in formulation, although at different levels by weight and different types. In cake doughnuts, eggs play a vital role in functionality and can range from 0.5-7 percent of the formula. The egg product generally used is a dried yolk solid, which add richness and flavor, but also contribute to tenderness, increased volume, crust smoothness and increased shelf life. Bakers prefer yolks to white because whites will reduce the doughnuts’ fat absorption qualities. In general, according to Emily Munday, culinologist/nutritionist for CuliNex, LLC, Seattle, Washington, “Doughnuts need to strike a balance between tenderness for better eating quality and resiliency, for physical strength to withstand any sugar tumbling, packaging and shipping.”

Yeast doughnuts, according to Munday, rely less on the egg functionality than a cake- or churro-style donut. Whole eggs or egg yolk can be included up to 5 percent of the formula by weight. In a yeast raised product eggs can contribute to better crust color, extended shelf life, and add richness and flavor; generally making for better eating quality.

With the growing Hispanic influence in our country churros are becoming more popular. These Spanish-style doughnuts are made for a choux paste, which is a cooked starch paste enriched with eggs—very different from cake or yeast doughnuts. Said Munday, “Almost all of the leavening power comes from eggs and as such, they contain a high percentage, ranging from 16-21 percent of the formula by weight.” In these formulations, bakers sometimes add egg yolk in addition to whole egg for greater richness, color and tenderness, better flavor and improved eating quality. 

2015-10-26 09:02:14

New YouTube channel

Billions of viewers watch YouTube videos every week, emphasizing the importance of digital communications. The American Egg Board in response is stepping up its digital game.

There is a new American Egg Board YouTube channel, containing a growing body of technical videos to instruct and inform our audience of food product developers about the benefits of REAL egg ingredients.

Sometimes it’s tough to find the expert perspective required to answer a simple yet vital question that could help finalize a project decision. Selecting the right ingredient with the proper functionality for a specified application can fall into that category. Shelly McKee, Ph.D., technical advisor for the American Egg Board, shares knowledge gained from her wealth of experience within the egg product industry.

The new YouTube channel merges instructional videos formerly housed on, with a new series called “Tech Talk,” featuring, short, quick snippets of information that each last a minute or less.

The longer instructional videos provide an in-depth examination of the various functional attributes of egg ingredients such as emulsification, aeration, coagulation and more.

Tech Talk answers the most common questions about egg ingredients, addressing issues ranging from sustainability to the gluten and GMO status of egg ingredients. Dr. McKee gives brief instructions for proper handling, discusses egg product safety and of course, functionality for the major product application categories.

Egg ingredients are versatile, powerful and proven tools in a formulator’s arsenal of functional yet clean solutions. Egg ingredients are available as whole eggs, egg whites or egg yolks, in liquid, powdered or frozen forms. Formulators can work with their egg suppliers to discuss options for added ingredients that enhance natural egg functionality. Click here to view our new YouTube Channel.


2015-10-12 08:02:14

AIB International weighs in on egg ingredients in baking

While bread might be the staff of life, the staff at American Institute of Baking provides a lifeline for the bakers turning out everyone’s favorite pastries, cakes, donuts, meringues and of course, bread. The institute serves as a resource to teach, troubleshoot and lend technical advice so bread and baked goods continue to achieve the highest quality taste, texture and appearance while turning a profit for the operator.

Recently, we interviewed Luis Belozerco, Baking & Food Technical Services at AIB International in Manhattan, KS, to ask about the multiple roles played by egg ingredients in baking applications. Within many baking applications, more than one functional property of eggs is at work. Belozerco dives into best practices to help maintain product appearance, taste, texture and quality. 

Within the videos, Belozerco discusses the three critical phases in production: the mixing process, oven temperatures and bake time. He explains the importance of these three phases and adjustments bakers should consider prior to reformulating.

Eggs are used in varying amounts and supply different functional properties depending on the baking application. For example, the foaming capability and aeration eggs provide is responsible for the appearance, volume and/or texture in products like macarons, meringues and foam-type cakes such as angel food.

Other products rely on eggs for a stable emulsion, particularly in baked goods with a higher fat content. The more egg, the more stable the emulsion.

The final word on the topic? “There is not a single substitute that can replace all of the functions eggs perform in all of the different types of baking products,” said Belozerco.

Prior to joining the staff at AIB International, Luis Belozerco worked for more than 25 years as a baking professional on grain-based products and technical solutions for a number of multinational corporations. Click here to watch the Tech Talk Baking videos.

Photo Credit - Shutter Stock


2015-09-28 08:02:14

Focus on the yolk

With the 2015 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Expo behind us, we’re still fielding questions about the samples served at the show, in particular the dulce de leche pudding. We will soon post formulations for those show samples. Several highlight the emulsifying properties of egg yolk, so a review of egg yolk properties and benefits might be helpful.

Egg yolks are the yellow portion of a whole egg. They comprise 30 to 33 percent of the total liquid weight of a whole egg. They also contain the entire fat content of the egg in a balanced mix of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids with no trans fatty acids. Yolks also contain a little less than half of the protein of the whole egg and a high proportion of vitamins and minerals. Further, the yolk’s lipid profile includes a number of functional and healthful nutrients, including lecithin, choline and carotenoids.

  • The phospholipid lecithin, which acts as an emulsifying agent in foods such as sauces and dressings, can also be used to coat ingredients, aiding in their dispersion in a food matrix. In baked goods, lecithin reduces the rate of moisture loss as well as exerts a tenderizing effect.
  • The xanthophyll carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin make the yolk yellow, providing a rich color to baked goods, sauces and dressings.
  • Egg yolk thickens and binds when heated due to the protein denaturation. This makes egg yolks a popular addition in meat and meat substitute patties and hot sauces.
  • And speaking of the dulce de leche pudding served at IFT, this rich custard, flavored with caramel and vanilla bean, incorporated egg yolks to supply creaminess and flavor. It also capitalized on the egg yolks’ emulsifying and thickening properties for proper texture.

Egg yolks are available in a wide variety of forms, including dried, frozen and refrigerated, for a host of applications. Typically, further processed frozen egg yolk will be comprised of either 10 percent salt or sugar. This is added to the egg yolk to inhibit gelation and avoid increasing the ingredient’s viscosity. Freezing the egg yolk does not affect its emulsification properties.

An enzyme modified egg yolk possesses high water solubility, enhanced emulsifying properties and has greater heat stability. In addition the egg yolk features a full complement of impressive nutritional values.

2015-09-14 08:02:14

Having it your way

Recently we went out for breakfast with our extended family. One person wanted eggs sunny-side up, another had an omelet filled with fresh vegetables and cheese, while a third wanted their side of bacon extra crispy. The meal served as a delicious reminder that the same basic ingredients, like eggs, can combine in so many ways to suit every preference. This is particularly true at breakfast.

At the American Egg Board, each quarter we’re tapping into the breakfast pulse in America to determine the overriding trends ruling menus and driving sales for both foodservice and retail venues.

This quarter, customization and mindful, healthy eating appear as the new normal. Whether they’re eating in or dining out, Americans want to know what’s in their food, where it comes from, how it’s made and they want to eat it their own way. In the latest installment of Incredible Breakfast Trends, we look at these New Behaviors and how they’re affecting American dining habits and breakfast. Here’s a glimpse: 

The Choice is Yours

Trend watchers credit Millennials with inventing customization, but they merely embraced it and led the rest of us toward culinary enlightenment. Americans have always ordered unique combinations of pizza toppings, dipped fries in tartar sauce and built their own omelets. While Millennials are taking the trend to new heights, prior generations also demanded customization. Don't forget, it was 40 years ago Burger King launched its ‘have it your way’ campaign.

The idea of customization is not new, but the delivery format in fast-casual restaurants, such as Chipotle and the like, is relatively new. Consider this: the fast-casual segment revenue grew 13 percent in 2014, which, according to Technomic, is 10 times that of the industry overall. And within the fast-casual segment, the build-your-own segment is even hotter – 2014 sales were up 22 percent

Read more about this Incredible Breakfast Trend here.

The Cultural Evolution of Health

For decades, doctors, government organizations and public health watchdogs warned Americans about the complications of obesity, sedentary lifestyles and diets consisting of junk food. By and large, they were ignored. But change is afoot. From a cultural evolutionary standpoint, it’s been relatively sudden. Setting the stage for all this was the cumulative effect of the 1960s counterculture lifestyle, the health and wellness movement in the 1970s and 1980s, and the recent cultural shift away from reacting to health problems in favor of proactively increasing quality of life.

The phrase “healthy food” means different things to different people. Some use food as a preventative health regimen, while others merely want to avoid sugar. There are those seeking high-fiber, gluten-free or high-protein meals free of meat. Dieters’ needs range from low calorie to high protein. And food manufacturers are left to figure out how to satisfy widely diverse requirements. Breakfast is a great platform to offer many options for virtually any definition of “healthy,” and food manufacturers are taking advantage of this in many creative ways from high protein breakfast bowls to egg white breakfast sandwiches.

Read more about this Incredible Breakfast Trend here.

Eggs are a good source of protein—in fact, they’re one of the only complete sources of protein. One egg supplies all nine essential amino acids, which are found in greater amounts in eggs than in plant-based proteins. This helps eggs fit easily into a high protein breakfast bowl or meal.

And talk about customization—at last Saturday’s morning meal, everyone in our party had eggs on the plate and each dish was prepared a different way. Looks like the future of breakfast will continue sunny-side up for those who like it packed with protein and filled with almost limitless choices.

2015-08-31 07:02:14

Millenials for mayo

Millennials might not have decided which party or candidate to support in next year’s presidential election, but when selecting a favorite condiment, they reach for mayonnaise.

A recent U.S. survey* by the Association for Dressings and Sauces reveals Millennials (ages 18 to 35) ranked first among all other age groups as frequent purchasers of mayonnaise or whipped dressings. The survey, conducted among 866 consumers aged 18 to 65, revealed that 37 percent of those aged 25 to 34 (the older half of Millennials) purchased the product in the past month. This is nearly twice the purchasing rate compared to the next group of consumers – those aged 55 to 65 (typically the age of their parents) — at 21 percent purchasing.

The national online survey also asked about the most popular uses for mayonnaise or whipped dressing. The top preferred use for mayo – among all age groups – was sandwiches: A full 90 percent said they spread it on a sandwich, followed by 73 percent using mayonnaise as an ingredient in cold salads. Forty-four percent use it to top vegetables, 25 percent on green salads and 25 percent use mayonnaise as a baking ingredient. As for myself, I like horseradish mayonnaise as a dip for sweet potato fries, or mayo spread on a classic BLT.

Speaking of the BLT, over the years a number of news outlets have spotlighted recipe favorites. The most recent roundup highlights restaurant interpretations of the BLT (in Nation’s Restaurant News) and it lists some flavorful twists of classic mayonnaise. Sandwiches feature cracked pepper balsamic or chipotle mayo, basil aioli, or in one variation that truly emphasizes the “B” in BLT — a bacon-infused mayo.  

Mayonnaise, when properly prepared, represents the perfect example of a thorough emulsion, when the fat is completely integrated into the water phase, without separation during storage or use.  Egg yolk, relied upon for its emulsifying properties, is a common ingredient in mayonnaise and part of its legal standard of identity as defined in 21 CFR 169.140.

When choosing a mayonnaise or whipped dressing, 40 percent of all respondents to the dressing survey said their number one factor was taste. With spicy foods on the rise in the U.S. (Euromonitor), consumers can now find mayonnaise flavored such as Sriracha, wasabi and roasted garlic. Although not a Millennial, I’m happy to represent my age group as a mayonnaise enthusiast.  We’ll be having a salad or dish made with some at my house very soon.


*Conducted in December 2014 by Turner Research Network, the survey polled adult consumers, aged 18 to 65, who identified themselves as the primary or shared grocery shoppers in the household and who purchased any type of spoonable dressing products from any retail outlet in the past 12 months. The sample for the survey was based on total U.S. households.

Photo Credit - Shutterstock

2015-08-17 07:29:00

IFT 2015 recap

Thousand of samples handed to passersby, hundreds of conversations and just as many (or more) questions about the current supply of egg products. All this and more characterized our recent experience exhibiting at the Institute of Food Technologists 2015 Annual Meeting and Expo in Chicago this July.

It’s energizing to work the booth at the show and this year was no exception. Particularly encouraging was the response from many formulators who expressed a keen interest in the use of egg products as ingredients. The functional properties of REAL eggs continue to be appreciated and valued for product applications of all types. The Buyers’ Guide was quick to disappear.

We did field quite a few questions about the current situation regarding avian influenza. A lot is happening behind the scenes with government, researchers, processors and farmers working together to prevent new incidences of avian influenza. Every possible avenue is being explored to restore the supply of egg products to its former levels.

In case you happened to walk the show floor, we had a corner booth with great visibility and lots of traffic. We noticed extra traffic the first day of the show, on Sunday, when we were sampling Dulce de Leche Pudding with Pumpkin Seed Crunch. We were filling sample cups as quickly as possible and still weren’t able to keep up with demand. Those who tasted it kept returning for more and bringing their colleague with them. I kept hearing, “My coworker told me I had to stop and try some,” or “I’ve never had a Dulce de Leche dessert that tasted this good.”

This rich custard flavored with caramel and vanilla bean incorporated egg yolks to supply creaminess and flavor and to capitalize on their emulsifying and thickening properties for proper texture. The sweet and spicy cinnamon-glazed pumpkin seed crunch lent a contrasting texture to the creamy pudding base and this textural balance received multiple compliments. The crunchy topping relied on egg whites for crisping and browning and to help the spices adhere

While the pudding was admittedly the star of the show, we also sampled two types of savory cookies that were well received; Rosemary and Asiago with Heirloom Tomato Curd and a Bacon & Caramelized Onion Cookie with Raspberry Balsamic Curd. Eggs supply crispness, structure and tenderness to the cookies, and emulsification, thickening, richness and creaminess to the accompanying curd.

This is our second year sampling product at IFT to highlight the incredible functionality, flavor and appearance of products that use REAL eggs and I think it's a winning concept. Anyone interested in following up after the show, or discussing methods to scale up these ideas, please contact me

2015-08-07 18:01:49

Sandwich Resurgence

The humble sandwich has never been more popular, with one MarketWatch editor calling out the breakfast sandwich specifically as the new battleground for market share amongst fast food establishments. Food manufacturers are introducing new varieties in order to capture the attention of a consumer population intent on convenient, handheld, flavorful options for the morning meal or snack time.

According to data collected by the American Egg Board utilizing Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), egg ingredients within sandwich offerings, particularly breakfast sandwiches and wraps, experienced double-digit growth in 2014.

The Sandwiches and Wraps category witnessed a 14 percent increase in new product introductions compared to 2013, with a focus on breakfast items.

This growth within the sandwiches and wraps category helped energize the frozen food section in retail. According to Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), sales of frozen breakfast items such as sandwiches and burritos grew 6.7 percent and breakfast entrée sales grew 5 percent in the 12-month period ending in August of 2014, with multiple national brands introducing new items. The percentage growth outpaces even that of the foodservice segment, which according to Technomic increased 4.8 percent annually from 2007 to 2012, slowing a bit to 3.5 percent in 2014.

Sandwiches, wraps and snacks that include a high-quality protein like those provided by egg ingredients are more filling and satisfying for consumers. And there’s nothing that beats the great taste of an egg on a breakfast sandwich, with any number of delicious combinations available for accompanying breads, cheeses and sauces, to fit any taste profile. 

2015-07-07 20:00:00

Convenience Reigns Among Consumers

Each year, the American Egg Board utilizes services provided by Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) to track the trends among foods using eggs as ingredients. Looking back at 2014 trends for a full year revealed that, according to both new product introduction categories and retail package label claims, consumers crave convenient foods more than ever.

Within the different categories Mintel uses to track new product introduction, several fit into the convenience trend, such as sandwiches and wraps or portable snacks. Meal kits make it possible to serve a complete dinner at home, for example, with little preparation time. Meal kits including egg ingredients jumped 13 percent in 2014.

Side salads can help round out a convenient meal, especially when pre-prepared. Within the potato category, a number of new potato salad forms entered the market, including diced or sliced hard-boiled eggs, or relying on egg ingredients for emulsification properties within the dressing.

Top package claims for 2008-2014 using egg ingredients definitely point out the continuing push for cleaner labels and convenience. Among the top ten:

  • Microwaveable
  • No additives/preservatives
  • Ease of Use
  • All Natural Product
  • Premium
  • Low/no/reduced trans fat
  • Low/no/reduced fat
2015-07-06 14:47:16

Avian Influenza

As avian influenza (AI) continues to affect the current supply of shell eggs and further pasteurized egg products, here is a summary of the latest industry briefing.

Market Impact

On June 2, 2015, the American Egg Board, along with United Egg Producers and Urner Barry, hosted a call to provide an update about avian influenza for key industry stakeholders. Egg farmers and government officials are taking every possible measure to investigate the cause and halt the outbreak, preventing its spread to other egg-producing states.

The last reported case of avian influenza in a commercial laying flock occurred on May 29, 2015. This brought the total for the infected population to 35 million laying hens in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. This comprised 12 percent of all layers in the U.S. on 25 layer farms, with 30 million hens dedicated to the egg products industry lost to this disease. According to current estimates, there is a 30 percent shortfall in the further processed egg supply.

Due to the spread of the disease, several larger breakers (those facilities used to make egg products) are experiencing disruptions in supply. Further processors in the industry are utilizing every resource to find shell eggs that can be converted to egg products.

Industry Response

The egg industry is working closely with state and federal officials on key AI response issues, including euthanasia of flocks, management of mortality on farms, indemnity provisions that ensure affected farms can recover, and research into possible AI vaccines.

Farms with unaffected flocks are following strict biosecurity measures to prevent further spread of the disease.

America’s egg farmers are working hard to find sources for their manufacturing partners and foodservice customers. However, due to the current supply disruption, there may be some shortages. Several steps have been taken or are being examined to help alleviate product shortfalls:

  • The Netherlands was reinstated to export egg products to the U.S.
  • The U.S. currently exports between five to six percent of its further processed egg supply; some or a good portion of this might be used for domestic customers instead.
  • Suppliers outside of affected areas are going to be ramping up production when possible to help boost supplies of further processed egg ingredients.
  • Some of the shell egg supply might be diverted to breaker facilities.

The American Egg Board has prepared messaging that is available for retailers and producers to help explain this temporary situation to consumers.

Consumer confidence

In the midst of challenges, it is sometimes difficult to find or acknowledge good news. However, there are several points to keep in mind in light of recent developments.

  • Our latest research shows that consumer confidence remains high:
    • Nearly 2/3 of Americans haven’t noticed any recent news about AI.
    • Nearly 80 percent of Americans say that knowing about AI doesn’t affect their consumption of eggs.
    • Nearly 90 percent of Americans believe eggs are safe to eat.
  • This last point is perfectly valid—it is safe to eat eggs:
    • AI facilities are not allowed to ship shell eggs to market.
    • All further processed egg products are pasteurized and continue an unbroken safety record that spans more than forty years.
    • Pasteurization inactivates AI.
    • Eggs are completely safe to eat when handled and cooked properly. In fact, despite recent price fluctuations, eggs are still an inexpensive source of high-quality protein and other important nutrients. People should be comfortable in the safety of eggs and continue to enjoy eating them.

The American Egg Board continues to monitor the avian influenza situation and will provide relevant information as it becomes available.

2015-06-22 16:57:51