Eggs are an excellent source of essential nutrients, including protein, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, and calcium. They’re affordable, versatile, and lip-smacking. Also, you can easily find them anywhere in the world.
The Indian poultry market reached a value of Rs 1,708 Billion in 2021 and it is expected that the market will reach Rs 3,170 Billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 10.50 per cent during 2022-2027.
Nevertheless, the Indian poultry industry has been plagued with hygiene and quality issues. Mitsuko Takahashi, Chief Operating Officer, Director, Ise-Suzuki Egg India Pvt. Ltd. says, “Eggs are often laid with manure, thus increasing the risk of diseases due to salmonella and other bacteria. Another major constraint affecting the growth of the poultry industry in India is the lack of basic infrastructure such as storage and transportation, including the cold chain. The good news is that Japanese tech innovations can transform the process of producing and transporting eggs in India and have already started doing so. The Japanese technology of cold chain eggs offers immense benefits and opens new possibilities for India’s poultry market.”
Why Cold Chain Eggs
In tropical weather, an eggs’ quality can quickly deteriorate unless it is stored at a low temperature. But why are eggs not transported in cold chains in the same way that dairy and poultry products are?
According to Mitsuko, “Only unwashed eggs have a longer shelf life at room temperature. The egg quality starts deteriorating the moment they are washed. Egg shells are porous, but nature gave eggs a micro membrane coating called ‘bloom’ to keep potential baby chicks and their environment safe and clean. Bacteria have a hard time getting inside a dry unwashed dirty egg. Washing eggs removes the bloom and washing eggs in cool water actually makes a vacuum, drawing unwanted bacteria inside even faster when kept at room temperature or under the sun. Here most people will argue that ‘eggs don’t get spoilt at room temperature’ – Yes they don’t but the quality sure deteriorates and as we all know it is best for human beings to eat fresh eggs for our health rather than not-rotten eggs. Post-washed eggs from a commercial washing plant need to be kept at a constant temperature only then the eggs are really fresh and safe for consumption. The main challenge is to make supermarkets and shopkeepers understand the importance of keeping eggs in the chiller at stores. Otherwise, all cold chain efforts will be wasted before they reach the consumers.”
Why Japanese Tech?
The average Japanese person eats around 320 eggs (Tamago) per year and we are very particular about the quality. Mitsuko Takahashi believes that the eggs in Japan are so fresh and safe that they can be eaten raw. This is why Japanese Cold Chain eggs are the best. With new technology, eggs are laid in a sterilised environment, are machine washed, and disinfected further with UV. Then the eggs go through rigorous quality testing to ensure that they adhere to a predefined standard. These steps ensure that all traces of bacteria are removed, and the eggs are safe for consumption and are transported via clean and hygienic cold reefer trucks.
“The concept of cold chain eggs has been gaining traction in various countries, including India as it stops food waste and also ensures that eggs are more nourishing and freer of harmful bacteria. Once Indian consumers start to understand they need to eat hygienic and fresh eggs, it could be a game changer to advance India’s cold chain concept extending beyond just dairy, beverage, and ice creams. In June 2022, for the first time, we introduced the concept of cold chain logistics in the Indian egg market. It’s all set to take the industry by a storm as more brands realise the benefits. With temperature-controlled transportation, producers can transport eggs over long distances without worrying about spoilage. Also, it’ll help preserve the nutritional value of the eggs. Moreover, proper hygiene standards will mean that consumers don’t have to worry about food poisoning or bacterial infections. That’ll likely make eggs more popular in the country and escalate sales further,” concludes Mitsuko Takahashi.
(N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe can be contacted at [email protected])