A product development resource for formulating foods with nutritionally superior, natural egg ingredients.


Fall Issue 2017

Can Eggs Aid with Cognition?

Can Eggs Aid with Cognition Consumers follow diet plans and select foods based on maintaining a desired level of physical fitness. What if science identified the vitamins and minerals contained within foods that could help our cognitive “fitness” or brain health? New research shows that certain nutrients, which can be found in varying amounts within an egg, could help improve brain health and cognition. The nutrients in question include selenium, lutein and zexanthin.

Trace elements are nutrients that the human body needs in minute amounts, with emphasis on the word “need”—we fare better health-wise when we consume them. Both selenium and lutein are essential micronutrients that the body cannot manufacture on its own and must be obtained from a food source. Selenium is one of the trace minerals our bodies need for a number of reasons, but one of those reasons is for cognition.

Blood selenium levels decrease as people age and this decrease in selenium has been linked to cognitive decline. Several studies have documented the effects of a proper dietary intake of selenium with improved cognition in elderly populations. One study conducted in China found that a group of elderly individuals who ingested the U.S. recommended daily value of selenium (approximately 55 mcg/day) posted cognitive test scores similar to people at least ten years younger. One single, large hard-boiled egg weighing approximately 50 grams contains 15.4 micrograms of selenium.

Other new research has discovered that lutein and zeaxanthin have a positive impact on cognition in young children. Previous research conducted with the elderly has shown that lutein and zeaxanthin is positively associated with cognition in this population segment. However, lutein is found in higher concentrations in the infant brain than the elderly brain, which led researchers to wonder if lutein influences cognitive development in children.

Two recent studies conducted at the University of Illinois examined the relationship between brain lutein, as measured using a non-invasive eye test called Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD) and cognition in children. The researchers found MPOD concentration was positively associated with academic performance. The authors state their belief is these are the first studies linking lutein to cognitive performance in children.

Further research can help establish whether there is a firm relationship between these trace elements or essential micronutrients found in eggs and improved cognition in the various age groups studied to date.


Richie JP, et al. Age related changes in selenium and glutathione levels in different lobes of the rat prostate. Exp Gerontol. 2012 Mar; 47(3): 223-228.

Barnett SM, et al. Macular pigment optical density is positively associated with academic performance among preadolescence children. Nutrition Neuroscience. 2017.

Walk AM, et al. From neuro-pigments to neural efficiency: the relationship between retinal carotenoids and behavioral and neuroelectric indices of cognitive control in childhood. International Journal of Psychophysiology. 2017. E-pub ahead of print.

New Functionality Section Online
New Functionality Pages Available Online–Documented, Detailed and Deployed

Can Eggs Aid with CognitionA look at the trends for any given year highlights what’s new on menus, in stores and on the minds of American consumers. New flavors, new ethnically inspired spices, new line extensions, new skus, new twists on old favorites—this “newness” keeps food interesting, exciting and fresh for taste buds craving adventure.

But within all this newness, functionality is the silent workhorse that makes these products reproducible, machinable and palatable during the course of a practical shelf life. That’s why food manufacturers can rely on egg products. Eggs have proven their functional worth through decades of modern manufacturing. As processes and procedures change and become ever more streamlined and sophisticated, the versatility of egg ingredients remains unchanged.

In a world of newness and change what we did change was our section on egg functionality. As well-known and ubiquitous as egg functions might be, scientific evidence or documentation helps firmly establish those functions as reliable and repeatable. On our website, all of the functions related to egg products have been updated and expanded to include the studies and research that confirm these truths. We also provided further details to more thoroughly explain those functions. The next step is to spread the word about the egg’s remarkable qualities.

The list of functional properties egg products supply is listed below. Egg ingredients can influence final product texture, taste, appearance and mouthfeel. A comprehensive body of practical research recently completed by CuliNex, LLC, Seattle, compares and contrasts the performance of egg ingredients to egg replacers in the most common baking applications. View research at RealEggs.org

Functional properties of Eggs

Baking or Sauce: Eggs Emulsify

Ingredient Spotlight

The air is crisp and pumpkin spice everything fills store shelves, from the sweet to the savory aisle. But what would pumpkin spice muffins have in common with a product like mayonnaise or salad dressing? Both benefit from the emulsifying properties of eggs, more specifically the yolk.

An emulsion is a temporarily stable mixture of immiscible fluids, such as oil and water. The mixture is achieved when the two are blended at a high rate of speed to achieve tiny droplets—the smaller the droplets, the more stable the emulsion. But this will separate unless an emulsifying ingredient is part of the equation.

According to Christine Alvarado, Ph.D., Texas A&M University, fresh liquid eggs, frozen eggs and spray-dried all have the capacity to emulsify. The egg as an emulsifier acts as a stabilizing agent that reduces surface tension, and reduces the force required to create the droplets that comprise an emulsion.

Multiple factors can affect an emulsion’s stability such as temperature, mixing speed, time and more. An emulsion is thicker or more viscous than its separate components or the oil and water it contains. Adding egg yolk to whole eggs increases emulsion viscosity, lending it greater stability.

The smaller the droplet and more uniform in size, the better the emulsion and the better the mouthfeel and texture of the finished product. When mixed at the proper speed and adding ingredients in the proper order, formulators can control droplet size and dispersion.

Some common applications for eggs as emulsifier beyond mayonnaise and sauces incudes salad dressing, ice cream and baked goods such as muffins, bread, cinnamon rolls and cheesecake to name a few.

Within the commercial baking industry, which has relied on eggs for decades, eggs can help increase product volume, supply a tender crust and crumb, finer and more uniform cell structure, a bright crumb color and slow the crumb from firming, increasing product shelf life. In terms of processing, emulsification activity enables proper blending of ingredients and protects the dough during mechanical handling. And a close second to product taste and texture is the product label declaration. Eggs, whether acting as an emulsifying agent or supplying one of its other twenty functional properties, can simply be listed as “eggs” on the label, keeping it simple for the discerning consumer.

Consumers’ Rediscover Brunch


All indicators point to brunch experiencing a resurgence, leading operators to add a new daypart or new dishes to their operations. Consumers no longer view dayparts as sacred. This is evident in the significant increase in all-day breakfast providers, late-night menu offerings and snack habits. On-trend operators took note, making changes that can inspire the rest of the industry. Statistics help tell the brunch story; the number of brunch dishes grew 25 percent in menu mentions between Q2 2015 and Q2 2017, an impressive surge.1 And by late 2016, 39 percent of American operators offered some type of brunch program.2

The latest version of the Incredible Breakfast Trends explores the innovative ways brunch has moved beyond the traditional hotel restaurants and buffets, to infiltrate chains, fast food and even the retail segment. Some highlights:

10 Million Reviews Reveal Best Brunch
In May, OpenTable named its annual picks for the 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America, having analyzed more than 10 million reviews to find them. With brunch the upscale, more gourmet cousin of breakfast, consumers expect more complex items with better ingredients, or a heightened experience.

Brunch items are frequently based on the top breakfast components which, according to Mintel, are still eggs, potatoes, bacon and bread. No surprise then that Eggs Benedict is the number one brunch item in America. Not far behind at number six is ethnic-inspired breakfasts. Pairing the two together leads to dishes like that served in the Denver-based Snooze restaurant, Chilaquiles Benedict, with barbacoa beef on ranchero sauced tortillas with roasted poblano hollandaise.

Millennial Motivation
Beyond the normal motivations for diners of any age to enjoy brunch, it’s worth mentioning here that Millennials overtook Boomers in early 2016 as America’s largest demographic group. Millennials are adventurous diners, and enjoy the social aspect of meals, among other traits that make them a prime target for brunchtime and brunch-inspired dishes. Technomic found 38 percent of Millennials enjoy eating foods that are usually associated with later dayparts but with breakfast ingredients added.

Brunch at Home
It’s not only restaurants that want their piece of the quiche—food manufacturers help us enjoy brunch at home. The quiche field is covered with choices from Trader Joe’s, Nancy’s, Wegmans and La Terra Fina, not to mention those from Kellogg’s Special K, like its Sausage, Quinoa, Peppers, Mozzarella & Asiago Crustless Quiche.

“The more adventuresome manufacturers have already introduced brunch-style items into the frozen and prepared food aisles,” says director of egg product marketing, Elisa Maloberti. “However there remains plenty of room for new, innovative ideas that take advantage of top trends for brunch items. In addition quiche, breakfast bowls and handheld sandwiches provide the perfect canvas for creative use of ethnic sauces and spices or pairing unique companion ingredients with eggs. The versatility of egg products allows formulators to experiment at will, offering dishes that can appeal to Millennials and brunch lovers of all ages.”

Egg Product Innovations

Caulipower Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Caulipower Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Caulipower introduces new pizza products, either a complete pizza or a do it yourself crust, Caulipower Cauliflower Pizza Crust. Each package contains two individually-wrapped pizza crusts made with vitamin-rich cauliflower, a product gluten-free, free from GMO and trans fat, which contains just a single gram of sugar and only six grams total fat per serving. According to the manufacturer, the product is a rich source of vitamin C. Primary ingredients include cauliflower, brown rice flour and a variety of oils, with eggs included to help bind the ingredients together.

Boomerang’s Tex Mex Scramble Pie

Boomerang’s Tex Mex Scramble Pie

Not all pies are sweet. On the savory side, a new handheld meal or snack from Boomerang’s Foods, Tex Mex Scramble Pie, introduces Americans to an Australian inspired treat. The flaky piecrust contains pico de gallo, jalapenos, corn tortillas and eggs in a puff pastry. The product is microwavable and suitable for vegetarians, containing just 430 calories and only two grams of sugar.

Kellogg’s Special K Portabella, Quinoa, Parmesan, Asiago & Kale Crustless Quiche

Kellogg’s Special K Portabella, Quinoa, Parmesan, Asiago & Kale Crustless Quiche

Kellogg, USA introduces a brunch favorite in frozen form, perfect to heat at home for an enjoyable meal—Kellogg’s Special K Portabella, Quinoa, Parmesan, Asiago & Kale Crustless Quiche. The product is made with “wholesome” red quinoa, Portabella mushroom and nutritious kale. It can be heated in a microwave and retails in a 7-oz. package that contains two individually wrapped quiche. Eggs serve as the primary ingredient to give the quiche its shape, texture and mouthfeel.

Northern Chef Sriracha Shrimp

Northern Chef Sriracha Shrimp

Tai Foong USA Inc. introduces Northern Chef Sriracha Shrimp, coated in a light gluten-free breading to appeal to those avoiding wheat gluten in their diet. The company says its breading gives their all-natural shrimp an irresistible taste and crispy texture, said to remain intact even after marinating. The shrimp may be baked or deep fried, served as a quick snack or entrée. One reason the breading stays intact and crispy—eggs help the breading adhere to the shrimp. One package contains 8 ounces.

New Online Egg Product Buyers’ Guide

The latest version of the Egg Product Buyers’ Guide is available and more user friendly than ever. Available online, the Buyers’ Guide enables purchasers to search for the right supplier according to the most important parameters, whether that is product or type. The online nature of the guide also allows for the information to be updated more quickly, so users can count on finding the most current information regarding egg product suppliers.

To start using the online Egg Product Buyers’ Guide, visit AEB.org/BuyersGuide.

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