Common Production Systems

America's egg farmers believe in consumer choice. We work hard to provide you with the highest-quality variety of eggs, no matter what kind of eggs you choose. Following is more information on some of the most common egg production systems.

Most egg farms in the U.S. run more than one production system. Almost all have both conventional and specialty egg production systems operating simultaneously – all committed to providing humane and nurturing environments for their birds.

Depending on your preference, you can spend anywhere from about $1.50 per dozen for conventional eggs, to more than $3.00 per dozen for specialty eggs, which typically cost more to produce.

Conventional Eggs

Eggs laid by hens living in cages with access to feed, water, and security. The cages serve as nesting space as well as for production efficiency. In this type of hen house, the birds are more readily protected from the elements, from disease and from natural and unnatural predators.

Free-Range Eggs

Eggs produced by hens that have access to outdoors in accordance with weather, environmental or state laws. In addition to consuming a diet of grains, these hens may forage for wild plants and insects and are sometimes called pasture-fed hens. They are provided floor space, nesting space and perches.

Cage-Free Eggs

Eggs laid by hens at indoor floor operations, sometimes called free-roaming. The hens may roam in a building, room or open area, usually in a barn or poultry house, and have unlimited access to fresh food and water, while some may also forage for food if they are allowed outdoors. Cage-free systems vary and include barn-raised and free-range hens, both of which have shelter that helps protect against predators. Both types are produced under common handling and care practices, which provide floor space, nest space and perches. Depending on the farm, these housing systems may or may not have an automated egg collection system.

Organic Eggs

Eggs produced according to national U.S. Department of Agriculture organic standards related to methods, practices and substances used in producing and handling crops, livestock and processed agricultural products. Organic eggs are produced by hens fed rations with ingredients that were grown without most conventional pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or commercial fertilizers.

Enriched Colony

A production system that contains adequate environmental enrichments to provide perch space, dust bathing or a scratch area(s), and nest space to allow the layers to exhibit inherent behavior. Enriched colony systems are American Humane Certified.

Take a look at an egg processing plant.


See how shell eggs become egg products.

Egg Product Information for Food Manufacturers

Here's a quick look at the many facets of egg products and the unique functionalities they contribute to many packaged food products.

The term egg products refers to processed and convenience forms of eggs for foodservice and food manufacturers. These products can be classified as refrigerated liquid, frozen, dried, and pre-cooked products. For many years, eggs were marketed primarily as shell eggs, but in recent years egg consumption in the form of egg products has increased. Because they provide certain desirable functional attributes, eggs and egg products are widely used as ingredients in many food products.

Consumption of egg products in 1984 was 15% of the total eggs produced, or 25.6 million cases of shell eggs further processed. By 2012, the numbers increased to 70.4 million cases of shell eggs broken into egg products. See the most up-to-date information on shell eggs broken for egg products. Fueled by increasing consumer demand for more convenience food products, growth of the egg products industry is expected to continue.

Many new convenience forms of egg products are reaching the marketplace, both in the home and through foodservice and commercially processed foods. In fact, tremendous growth of the use of egg products has occurred in the foodservice industry, particularly in breakfast menu items, and in the utilization of hard-cooked eggs on salad bars.

American Egg Board develops and distributes resource materials to assist product developers, shares timely tips, trend information, and also makes available egg product experts to answer technical questions.

locate U.S. REAL egg products supplier

Egg Conversion


La conversión de huevo de cascarón a huevo líquido o en polvo en sus fórmulas es realmente muy sencilla y no afecta su costo por tazón. Simplemente se trata de una sustitución peso por peso.

Otras ventajas de la conversión:

  • Ahorra tiempo, mano de obra y el desecho
  • Reduce el espacio necesario de almacenamiento en frío
  • Aumenta la vida útil - simplifica el rastreo de inventario
  • Agiliza la preparación del ingrediente
  • Proporciona uniformidad lote a lote
  • Mejora la calidad a largo plazo del producto

Observe como los expertos panaderos de AIB Internacional le muestran lo fácil que es ajustar su fórmula para utilizar huevo líquido o en polvo. A continuación, descargue una de las hojas de trabajo para empezar.

Conversión de huevo de cascarón a huevo líquido


Hojas de trabajo descargables, de huevo de cascarón a huevo líquido:

Conversión de huevo líquido a huevo en polvo


Hojas de trabajo descargables, de huevo líquido a huevo en polvo:

Si requiere más ayuda para hacer la conversión de huevo de cascarón a huevo líquido o en polvo, por favor comuníquese con el Consejo Americano del Huevo (American Egg Board) llamando al 847.296.7043 o con el AIB International ingresando a o llamando al 800.633.5137.


Egg Product Advantages

Direct from Mother Nature, with a touch of modern technology that cracks, separates and packages convenient forms of whole eggs whites and yolks, egg products provide food formulators with important benefits:

  • Ease of use: Egg products are ready to use immediately, e.g., liquid or dried egg that is compatible with mechanized proportioning systems in food plants, or pre-cooked egg entrees ready to heat and serve.
  • Convenience: Ready-to-use egg products just need to be measured for use – many egg products even come pre-measured. Bulk quantities may be customized with ingredients already incorporated into the egg product to reduce labor. Equipment needs are minimal, clean-up is simplified, and, except for packaging materials, there is no waste for disposal.
  • Economy: Reduced handling, minimal shipping cost and elimination of breakage result in reduced-cost formulations. They are one of the most economical complete protein sources available.
  • Safety: Egg products are pasteurized to destroy Salmonella and other bacteria.
  • Minimal Storage Space: A 100-pound drum of dried egg white solids is equivalent to the whites from about 28 cases (360 large shell eggs per case) of shell eggs. 100-pounds of dried whole egg solids are the equivalent to about 10 cases of large shell eggs. A 30-pound container of frozen eggs is equivalent to about 22 dozen large shell eggs.
  • Uniformity: Egg products can be produced to definite specifications to assure consistent performance in formulations. Click here for Egg Product Specifications. 
  • Stability: When properly stored according to their type, egg products will keep their quality over several months.
    • Click here for dried egg product storage and handling information.
    • Click here for refrigerated/frozen egg product storage and handling information.
  • Quality: Most egg products are virtually indistinguishable from fresh eggs in nutritional value, flavor and most functional properties. These qualities are well retained during proper storage.

Non-food functional uses for eggs


The white is a popular ingredient for facial masks. The yolk is used in shampoos and conditioners.


Both yolk and white are excellent culture media for laboratory growth of microorganisms.

Animal Feed & Pet Food

Ground dried shells are fed to laying hens as a source of calcium and protein. Egg is used to feed laboratory animals when a protein reference is required. Yolks and whites are used in pet foods.

Egg Proteins

Lysozyme is an excellent antibacterial agent in all foods. Avidin-biotin technology is used in medical diagnostic applications like immunology, gene probes, and histopathology.

Egg Conversion

Thinking about converting from Shell Eggs to Liquid or Dried Eggs?

Converting from shell eggs to liquid or dried eggs in your formulas is really quite easy and won’t affect your bowl cost. It’s simply a weight for weight substitution.

Other conversion benefits:

  • Saves time, labor and waste
  • Reduces cold storage space needed
  • Increases shelf life – simplifies inventory tracking
  • Streamlines ingredient preparation
  • Provides batch-to-batch consistency
  • Improves long-term product quality

Watch as the baking experts at AIB International show you just how easy it is to adjust your formula to use liquid or dried eggs. Then download one of the worksheets to get started.

Converting from shell eggs to liquid eggs


Downloadable shell eggs to liquid eggs worksheets:

Converting from liquid eggs to dried eggs


Downloadable liquid eggs to dried eggs worksheets:

For more assistance in making the conversion from shell eggs to liquid or dried eggs, please contact American Egg Board at 847.296.7043 or AIB International at or 800.633.5137.

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    The egg remains one of nature’s most perfect foods. Locked inside the white shell lie a host of vitamins and minerals in addition to the highest quality protein found in any food – all for just 70 calories in a standard-size egg. In fact, egg protein is the standard by which other proteins are measured. The nutrients found in eggs contribute to a healthy diet and can play a role in weight management, muscle strength, eye health and brain function to name a few benefits.

    Egg Product Nutrition & Trends


    The American Egg Board develops single-focused information on a variety of functionality and egg nutrition topics. These topics are important to food formulators as they must consider each and every ingredient and how it performs functionally and nutritionally. Topics such as satiety, sodium reduction, gluten-free products, clean labels, and better-for-you-foods are all important to consumers. The following supplements seek to provide information relevant to these topics.

    The egg is familiar to every shopper in America. Yet within that mild-looking shelled exterior lies a powerhouse of nutrition and functionality that transfers super attributes into formulations. Read More...


    At the American Egg Board/Egg Nutrition Center, we are often asked if eggs are considered gluten-free and whether they trigger soy allergies. With the incidence of food allergies on the rise, these are important questions that can have great health implications for many Americans. Read more ...


    The functional properties of egg ingredients are well documented and applauded in an industry where the combination of function, nutrition and natural is a rarity. Egg ingredients score a triple play on these three attributes, but hit it out of the park when you add to this mixture the fact that egg ingredients are sourced domestically and priced competitively. Read more ...


    Few food ingredients are as “pure & simple” as egg products, which “are recognized by product developers as bringing more to product formulations with less. In fact, with 20-plus functions, some might say egg products are anything but simple. Read more ...


    Comfort foods are part of a larger trend that sees Americans returning to the basics. Consumers still need prepared food solutions to make meal preparation easier. One answer for food formulators navigating the tricky waters of supplying comfort foods on a budget is using the egg as an ingredient. Read more ...


    Every day, 11,000 baby boomers turn 50, and many thousands more are reaching retirement age. However, this generation anticipates experiencing a different style of retirement than their parents before them. Read more ...


    New research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests that starting the day with an egg breakfast can reduce hunger and help reduce caloric intake by more than 400 calories over the next 24 hours. Read more ...

    Egg products are naturally low in sodium and possess multifunctional components for foaming, binding and emulsifying, and other functions. Read More ...


    Eggs possess unique nutritional properties and contribute desirable functional attributes unequaled by any single egg alternative. Eggs also contribute a clean, natural image to help create a consumer-friendly ingredient statement for packaged or prepared foods. Read more ...


    American Egg Board has identified four key demographic segments for which the science is available and the consumer interest exists: pregnant women, toddlers to teens (2 to 12 years old), active adults, and aging Americans (baby boomers and beyond). Read more ...

    Energy boosting foods are in demand. An egg, nature's answer to the quest for the highest quality protein, is also your answer to the quest for a highly available, highly functional, protein ingredient. Read more ...


    Gluten-Free Solutions Begin with REAL Eggs

    Egg products perform superbly in gluten-free foods with a functional and nutritional profile that helps these specialty foods retain a ‘normal’ profile, structure and taste. Read more ...

    Egg Product Production Statistics

    Below you will find historical USDA statistics about broken and liquid egg products.


    Total Shell Eggs Broken

    (1,000 dozen)

    Edible Liquid Whole

    (1,000 pounds)

    Edible Liquid White

    (1,000 pounds)

    Edible Liquid Yolk

    (1,000 pounds)

    Total Liquid

    (1,000 pounds)

    2011 2,082,927 1,660,286 687,303 351,875 2,699,464
    2010 2,071,607 1,700,970 657,092 326,494 2,684,556
    2009 1,993,663 1,654,938 624,557 320,334 2,599,829
    2008 2,047,776 1,709,414 631,157 334,529 2,675,100
    2007 1,996,918 1,683,554 601,655 320,484 2,605,693
    2006 2,007,360 1,664,810 613,325 324,325 2,602,460
    2005 2,031,090 1,620,182 646,254 346,243 2,612,679
    2004 1,930,320 1,531,122 619,450 335,441 2,486,013
    2003 1,847,730 1,515,409 554,553 301,920 2,371,882
    2002 1,874,010 1,464,611 594,295 319,444 2,378,350
    2001 1,808,520 1,368,786 604,476 322,894 2,296,156
    2000 1,804,440 1,374,899 595,630 320,766 2,291,295
    1999 1,748,000 1,345,138 564,589 307,825 2,217,552
    1998 1,646,320 1,258,924 534,042 287,083 2,080,049
    1997 1,589,973 1,193,097 551,622 278,590 2,023,309
    1996 1,510,796 1,123,744 539,517 275,129 1,938,390
    1995 1,427,693 1,030,140 522,394 267,005 1,819,539
    1994 1,402,669 987,243 535,213 275,612 1,798,068
    1993 1,268,628 884,129 481,820 253,890 1,619,839
    1992 1,233,844 855,156 458,702 245,155 1,559,013
    1991 1,145,076 758,065 437,982 235,319 1,431,366
    1990 1,050,731 691,017 401,706 223,935 1,316,658
    1989 948,971 606,351 377,799 206,936 1,191,086
    1988 976,397 606,469 390,062 218,385 1,214,916
    1987 940,083 560,769 389,535 222,878 1,173,182
    1986 857,441 531,823 338,029 188,027 1,057,879
    1985 812,608 534,802 300,700 175,134 1,010,636
    1984 768,927 504,663 273,809 165,826 944,298
    1983 731,921 486,657 253,347 156,796 896,800
    1982 732,707 452,302 276,539 170,519 899,360
    1981 731,662 440,911 288,696 180,923 910,530
    1980 728,747 445,980 272,746 171,370 890,096
    1979 701,287 437,832 251,810 165,793 855,435
    1978 686,024 418,087 253,513 174,106 845,706
    1977 686,344 423,975 250,085 173,082 847,142
    1976 591,909 384,577 207,136 145,081 736,794
    1975 553,147 349,413 198,943 136,203 684,559
    1974 624,609 395,053 223,194 157,853 776,100
    1973 547,232 363,579 179,567 128,274 671,420
    1972 628,560 402,793 215,633 153,800 772,226
    1971 642,137 408,453 235,897 166,220 810,570
    1970 567,869 386,545 208,079 153,262 747,886
    1969 486,241 353,271 161,739 125,372 640,382
    1968 513,858 366,729 178,623 131,399 676,751
    1967 608,726 401,221 235,965 164,505 801,691
    1966 471,821 298,254 184,762 138,376 621,392
    1965 477,443 290,827 199,764 138,201 628,792
    1964 500,350 311,328 210,570 137,063 658,961
    1963 445,723 265,629 185,122 136,267 587,018
    1962 481,977 302,671 195,518 136,575 634,764
    1961 482,093 322,300 183,858 128,777 634,935
    1960 442,266 290,171 175,252 117,043 582,466
    Totals 56,889,171 41,419,069 19,753,626 11,338,338 72,511,033


    Egg facts

    Egg Products & Specifications

    Baking with Egg Whites