In an atmosphere of steep cost inflation across key food commodities, egg prices have not proven immune.
Data from Mintec shows EU egg prices from October 2021-March 2022 increased to €1.465/MT, up 16% compared to the average price for the prior period, from April-September 2021. Mintec attributed this jump to ‘strong’ retail demand and high feed prices.
Recent months have seen the situation worsen. Supply is also being squeezed – first by an outbreak of salmonella in the EU and, more recently, by bird flu and war in Ukraine. The latest figures released by the European Egg Processors Association this month show the number of total eggs available for consumption in the EU were down -2.5% in 2022 versus 2021.
With eggs accounting for as much as 30% of the cost of cake recipes, for instance, industrial bakers are being hit particularly hard.
"We know the pain industrial bakers are feeling. They are telling us they've seen the price they pay for eggs going up from 1 euro to 3 euro per litre within weeks. Eggs are already the most expensive part of a cake recipe,” explained Palsgaard senior applications specialist for bakery Christophe Lequet.
The Danish ingredient manufacturer believes it offers food manufacturers a solution to these spiking costs. Palsgaard claims its whipping-active emulsifiers can be leveraged in bakery formulations to reduce the egg content of cake recipes – allowing significant cost reductions.
Choice of emulsifier can reduce egg requirement
The amount of eggs needed in a cake recipe is largely dependent on the choice of emulsifier used in the product formulation, Palsgaard formulation experts explained. Traditional cake gels or hydrates, which are typically based on monoglycerides, can perform poorly on stability, meaning that more egg is needed.
To overcome this challenge, Palsgaard has developed a series of powdered emulsifiers for the industrial bakery segment.
Based on polyglycerol esters (PGEs) of fatty acids that provide aeration and also improve stability because of their hydrophilic properties, Palsgaard says its approach can cut the egg content of cakes by an average of 20%. This translates to a typical cost reduction of around 5%, the company revealed.
The figures are 'amazing', Lequet claimed. "A manufacturer who producers 5000 metric tonnes of cakes per year could save more than €200,000 annually. And that will prob go up as eggs become even more expensive.”
Other performance benefits
Palsgaard business development manager Sheila Rice added that emulsifiers can deliver other performance enhancements in bakery. “The beautiful thing about our whipping-active emulsifiers is that they solve such a wide range of challenges in cake production. Lower costs through reduced egg use is an obvious advantage, but there are so many performance benefits too,” she claimed.
Rice suggested whipping-active emulsifiers - which include Palsgaard’s Emulpals range for cake pre-mixes and Palsgaard SA - can shape, volume and crumb structure in cakes, as well as simplifying production and accelerating output.
The company’s offering also ticks a number of other boxes food innovators are looking at: the are plant-based, sustainably sourced and produced in CO2-neutral factories.
The ingredient can also be used to create better-for-you cakes because they are free from trans fats and can allow a shift from saturated to unsaturated oils. “The proper emulsifier can be the key to the desired structure, volume and appearance of your cake, as well as providing the opportunity to create better-for-you recipes,” Rice said.
Palsgaard will be showcasing its whipping active emulsifiers at the upcoming IBIE trade show in Las Vegas, where the company is hosting a knowledge sharing session on the topic.