Eggs on the conveyor system
Eggs and sustainability Interview with Ei AG
Eggs are consumed ever more frequently in Switzerland. Is this especially the case at Easter? What do consumers expect these days in terms of sustainability? Can eggs also be ordered online? We put these and other questions to Ei AG, a company that specializes in the sale of eggs in Switzerland.
Who is Ei AG and what is your role in the egg trade?
Together with our farms in Switzerland, we produce free-range eggs for Swiss consumers who value sustainable products. It’s really important to us to sell eggs and egg products that come from traceable and animal-friendly production. In close collaboration with our egg producers, we ensure that the eggs for our customers are produced with consideration for people and animals.
Every day, eggs are brought from the farms to us in Sursee, where they are checked, sorted and packed. We stock Demeter organic, free-range and barn eggs with especially animal-friendly husbandry systems. We’re a reliable partner for our producers and customers, who can count on our high quality standards.
Our company has around 30 employees. Annual production runs to 150 million Swiss eggs, which we sell all over Switzerland.
Can you tell us a little about your values at Ei AG?
Our customers’ requirements are the focus of everything we do. We’re convinced that we need to consider our product carefully and bring its unique value from the producer right to our customers’ plates. Alongside reliability and uncompromising quality assurance, the inner values of our product are also crucial. For us, this also means dealing sustainably with people, animals and the environment. We consider that the high standards we enjoy today are the result of a trend that we continually scrutinize and drive forward.
We think about what’s inside the egg – from its origin to its enjoyment. For a more sustainable future for people, animals and nature.
You’ve mentioned sustainability. How do you tackle this issue? What exactly do you do?
We differentiate here between our business in Sursee and the egg-dyeing factory in Pfäffikon, where we are continually looking at how to optimize our processes in terms of energy. This begins with the photovoltaic system on our roof and continues in the subsequent energy optimization in our cold storage and throughout the entire operation in Sursee. The egg-dyeing process includes the use of watercolours instead of ethanol colours, and the entire ventilation and filtering system.
This is also relevant for our producers and their animals. Not only should the laying hens have optimal surroundings during their lives, but in terms of the circular economy, we would also like the animals not to become biogas waste at the end of their lives, but have a secondary use as high-quality food. We work on this intensively.
Eggs have always been popular with consumers. How is the egg consumption trend developing in Switzerland?
In recent years, egg consumption has increased, peaking during the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, sales have fallen slightly but have stabilized at a high level. On average, a Swiss person eats 194 eggs per year (2022: Swiss Federal Statistical Office figures).
Eggs are often connected with Easter. Do the Swiss buy many more eggs at this time of year?
Significantly more eggs are consumed at both Easter and Christmas than at other times of the year. At Easter, cooked, coloured eggs are in high demand with consumers. At Christmas, it’s primarily fresh eggs that are used for baking.
Digitization continues to push ahead. How are you tackling this issue?
It’s a big issue for us too, and we’re continually digitizing our processes further. A current project is tackling the direct marketing of our products.
Does this mean we’ll soon be finding your products online?
That’s our aim. And it’s not just about eggs, but also by-products that inevitably arise alongside egg production, such as boiling hens or other hen products. We want to make these products attractive to consumers too, to promote sustainable use. We’re convince5d that more and more people are embracing circular thinking and are therefore interested in closing these circles themselves. This is the intention behind our e-commerce project.
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