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Evolution of egg quality perception by the consumer : consequenc or origin of the regulation ?

INRA Prod. Anim., 8 (3), 227-233.


INRA Station de Recherches Avicoles, 37380 Nouzilly


The aim of this paper is to focus on the mutual relationships between the evolution of the French and the European regulations concerning table eggs and the evolution of the egg quality perception by the consumer. The first purpose of regulations was to identify the origin of the egg and to certify its microbiological status which sustained the freshness concept. This concept was clearly understood by the consumer up to the last seventies. Today, "freshness" seems to have got a broader meaning : for some consumers, it would include other concepts such as the hens’ housing (cages vs floor) or egg colorations which are not technically related to the egg ageing after laying. Indeed, since the eighties, taking into account demands from northern Europe, the European regulations have authorized to indicate on egg boxes the type of hens’ housing. This permission has certainly opened the door to new ways of marketing but also to the confusions indicated above.

The only other regulated egg trait, know by the consumer is egg weight ; it is classified into a probably too great number of classes. In the future, some traits relative to internal quality of eggs (functional properties or yolk composition) could be also incorporated into regulations, or, at least, into conformity certification procedures.

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