There are almost 363 million laying hens in the EU-27 producing 6.9million tonnes of useable eggs / egg product per annum. Average egg consumption in the EU-27 is 12kg/capita/annum(Eurostat, 2011).
France and Spain are the largest egg producers, followed by Italy and Germany then the Netherlands and the UK (Figure 1)(European Commission, 2010). France is the 10th largest producer in the world (accounting for 1.5% of total production), whilst China is by far the largest producer accounting for 37.5% of production (FAOstat, 2012a).
In 2009, the EU exported 188,000 tonnes and imported 35,000 tonnes of egg / egg product. Globally, the Netherlands is the largest exporter of eggs/ egg product (26.4% export share) whilst Germany is the largest importer (27.3% of import share) (FAOSTAT, 2012b).