Move to Recyclable and Sustainable Packaging


Mondelez International is the latest in a series of manufacturers to announce programs to reduce waste generated from packaging. It is planned to convert all packaging to recyclable status and to provide consumers with relevant information by 2025. This is a worldwide initiative and is part of the company’s long-term vision for zero-net waste in packaging. A number of initiatives will be implemented including:

  • Use of recyclable material for all packaging by 2025. Paper-based packaging will be sustainably sourced by 2020.
  • Comprehensive recycling information will be provided to consumers by 2020.
  • Mondelez will support industry coalitions and public-private partnerships to develop vital waste-management infrastructure.

It is calculated that 150 million pounds of packaging material worldwide will be eliminated by 2020. Since 2013, Mondelez International has eliminated 100 million pounds of packaging material. This has been achieved through redesign of tubs used in the U.K. using less plastic, reduction in use of corrugated paper and diminishing the thickness of packaging films.

Sustainability in packaging is an irreversible trend and will have implications for food producers in their relationship with customers and through public perception.


Egg Industry News



The following items will be reviewed in greater detail in upcoming editions of EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS:


No prospect of near-term trade negotiations with China: With more than a third of the U.S. corn and soybean crops harvested, farmers and traders are anxious for a resolution of the trade impasse with China. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Mills confirmed that talks “were at a hiatus”. President Trump opined that China was “not ready” to discuss issues dampening the possibility of a summit at the G-20 meeting in November. Economic Council Chair Larry Kudlow said that “recent relations have not been positive”


Silos at elevators filling fast: Ending stocks are competing with the 2018 harvest for storage space. Some localities are storing grain under tarpaulins with less than half of new-crop corn harvested. This has implications for quality and possible

mycotoxin contamination.


Impact of Hurricane Michael Quantified: The storm severely damaged or destroyed about 90 broiler houses in Georgia and led to the loss of 2 million birds in addition to plant closures and extensive disruption of operations. Total losses to state agriculture will exceed $3 billion, in part attributed to devastation of the cotton crop. Michael, followed Hurricane Florence which caused less wind damage but extensive flooding affecting hog, turkey and broiler production in North and South Carolina. 





According to the October 11th 2018 WASDE Report #582, 81.8 million acres of corn will be harvested in 2018 to produce 14.78 Billion bushels. The soybean crop is projected to attain 4.69 Billion bushels from 88.2 million acres harvested. The levels of production for the two commodities is based on revised projections of yield and acreage harvested. Ending stocks were revised based on anticipated domestic use and exports.


Quarterly corn and soybean stocks were estimated by USDA in a release on September 28th to total 2.14 Billion bushels (14.7 percent of the 2017 harvest) and 0.44 Billion bushels (10.0 percent of 2017 harvest) respectively. Of the “old soy crop” 0.10 Billion bushels are held as on-farm storage, up 15 percent from the corresponding period in 2017. Off-farm storage is up 58 percent to 0.34 billion bushels. Disappearance from June to August was 0.78 Billion bushels, up 18 percent from the corresponding period in 2017. This reflects accelerated shipments in anticipation of increased tariffs imposed by China.


The following quotations for the months as indicated were posted by the CME at 10H00 EDT on October 12th together with values for the corresponding months in parentheses indicating only minor changes in price after firming during the previous week.




Corn (cents per bushel)

Dec.’18   369   (368)        

March ‘19 381  (380)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Nov. ’18  863  (867)*   

Jan. ’19      890  (880)      

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Oct.  ‘18  313  (315)*

Jan.  ’19     318  (318)

*values reflect 2017 harvest


Changes in the price of corn, soybeans and soybean meal were:-


COMMODITY                                                      CHANGE FROM PAST WEEK

Corn:                     Dec. quotation down 1 cent per Bu.                (-0.3 percent)

Soybeans:              Nov. quotation down 4 cents per Bu.             (-0.5 percent)

Soybean Meal:        Oct.  quotation down $2 per ton                      (-0.6 percent)                                


  • For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn:-


The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen


The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight


  • For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal:-


The cost of egg production would change by 0.40 cent per dozen


The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight


Markets were essentially unaffected by release of the October WASDE. There is no immediate prospect of resolving the trade dispute with China before the 2018 harvest is completed. Unproductive sub-cabinet level discussions in Washington in early September and imposition of additional tariffs on imports on September 24th have raised tensions in China which appears to be unmoved in its determination to resist U.S. tariffs. The Administration has announced that negotiations are underway to arrange a meeting between President Trump and Premier Xi in late November.


Despite claims by the Administration in August to the contrary the E.U. will not be a viable alternative to China with regard to export volume for corn and soybeans.. Imports of soybeans will be limited by the inherent reluctance of the trading bloc to import GM products. Five nations in the E.U. have an outright ban on introduction of GM ingredients and any food product marketed in the E.U. would have to declare GM content on the label. 


The financial future for row-crop farmers appears bleak despite the promise of $12 billion as “short-term” compensation. Recent comments from the USDA suggest that this value may be trimmed. Farmers will not be placated by the promise of E-15 ethanol since the logistic problems of delivery to consumers and legal challenges will delay any positive price benefit. The loss inflicted on farmers by the trade war with China is a gain for livestock producers who will benefit from lower feed costs. Of course the hog and poultry industries have experienced higher costs for a decade as a result of the RFS, a gift which keeps on giving. The RFS is a boon to Midwest politicians, corn growers and ethanol refiners at the expense of anyone in the U.S. who eats or uses any form of transport.



See the WASDE posting summarizing the October 11th USDA-WASDE Report #582 under the STATISTICS tab documenting price projections and quantities of commodities to be produced, used and exported from the 2018 harvest.



Export of Shell Eggs and Products January-August 2018.


USDA-FAS data collated by USAPEEC, reflecting export volume and values for shell eggs and egg products are shown in the table below comparing January-August 2018 with the corresponding period in 2017:-



Jan.-Aug. 2017

Jan.-Aug. 2018


Shell Eggs


Volume (m. dozen)



-3.3 (-4.3%)

Value ($ million)



+11.9 (+16.1%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)



+0.20 (+21.2%)

Egg Products




Volume (metric tons)



-7,242 (-25.1%)

Value ($ million)



+3.3 (+4.4%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)



+1,280 (+49.3%)





Updated USDA Projections for 2018 and 2019 Egg Production


The USDA Economic Research Service issued an updated October 17 th 2018 forecast of egg production unchanged from the previous September 18th report. The volume of eggs produced and per capita consumption for 2019 were increased by 1.7 and 0.5 percent respectively over 2018. Consistent with this disparity the benchmark New York price was reduced by 12.2 percent in unit value Production data reflecting 2016 and 2017 should be compared to 2015, impacted by the Spring outbreak of HPAI in the upper-Midwest. The latest data is reflected in the table below:










2018 2019 Difference %

(projection) (forecast) 2018 to 2019





Production (m. dozen)




7,845 7,980 +1.7%


Consumption (eggs per capita)




270.0 280.3 +0.5%

New York price (c/doz.)




141 124 -12.2%


Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook - September 18th 2018

*Impacted by Spring 2015 HPAI outbreaks. Consumption in 2014, 267 eggs per capita

Subscribers to EGG-NEWS are referred to the postings depicting weekly prices, volumes and trends and the monthly review of prices and related industry statistics.


Status of 2018 Corn and Soybean Crops


The USDA Crop Progress Report released on October 15th updated the status and condition of 2018 corn and soybeans. Ninety-six percent of the corn crop is now mature, five percent over the 5-year average. Thirty-nine percent of the corn crop has been harvested.

Soybeans have completed setting pods consistent with good soil moisture and climate conditions. Ninety-five percent of the crop has started dropping leaves, three percent ahead of the 5-year average. Thirty-eight percent of the crop has been harvested, an advance of only six percent from the previous week. Due to inclement weather less than three days were suitable for field work in IA, MI, MN, NE, WI and SD.

EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS will report on the progress of the two major crops as monitored by the USDA and will continue posting updates through the end of harvest in October.


Crop Parameter (%)

October 7th

October 14th

5-Year Average

Corn Emerged

Corn Silking

Corn Dough

Corn Denting

Corn Mature

Corn Harvested

















Soybeans Emerged

Soybeans Blooming

Soybeans Setting Pods

Soybeans Dropping Leaves

Soybeans Harvested

















Crop Condition

V. Poor





Corn 2018

Corn 2017











Soybeans 2018

Soybeans 2017











Soil Parameter


V. Short







Topsoil moisture: Past Week





Past Year





Subsoil moisture: Past Week





Past Year







USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, October 18th 2018.

  • Hen Numbers in Production Increased 0.5 million to 320.8 million.
  • Shell Inventory Up by 1.6 Percent From Previous Week.
  • Generic Prices for Extra Large and Large Down 1 Percent, Mediums Down 2.9 Percent Compared to Previous Week.



According to the USDA Egg Market News Report posted on October 15 th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large sizes were down one percent and Mediums were down 2.9 percent compared to the past week. The progression of prices during 2018 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The October 15th USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 65: No. 42) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $1.06 per dozen delivered to warehouses effective October 12th This price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $1.02 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $1.17 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was 21 cents per dozen above the three-year average but 19 cents per dozen below the corresponding week in 2017.


Adisseo to Develop Bio-Based Methionine


Adisseo and biotech collective TWB have jointly developed a bio-based synthesis for L-methionine.  It is intended to develop a pilot plant by 2020.  The development follows a parallel acquisition of a bio-based methionine synthesis system by Evonik Industries from metabolic explorer in 2017.


Providing the bio-based methionine processors do not make use of a GMO organism, availability of a nutrient supplement which could be accepted by the National Organic Program would reduce the cost o production of eggs and poultry meat and displace conventional synthetic methionine which is subject to progressive reduction in dietary inclusion.


Alltech Establishes E-Commerce “Store”


Alltech has developed a website “The Alltech Store”.  This will allow customers to shop for animal nutrition products to be delivered to front doors and farm gates.


The Alltech Store is created through an internal incubator program encouraging employees to submit their ideas for improvement.


Information is available from the website https://store.alltech.com


The Alltech Store will provide a convenient source of supplements for 4-H, and small holder operations across diverse species.


Development of New E. coli Vaccine


Dr. John J. Maurer of the University of Georgia Poultry Diagnostic Research Center has developed new technology autogenous E. coli vaccines.  The project was funded by the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association Foundation.


Dr. Maurer and his colleagues were able to develop a culture method for field strains of E. coli that inhibit the production of surface.  Coli without the O antigen include the lipopolysaccharide core which can stimulate antibodies to a wide range of pathogenic E. coli.


The culture technique was applied to produce E. coli strains stripped of O-antigen to be incorporated in emulsion which was effective in inducing an antibody response.


The technique has the potential to enhance the effectiveness of autogenous vaccines since STEC strains or various subtypes may be present on a specific farm effecting successive flocks.


Aldi Receives Retailer of the Year Award


The 2018 Retailer of the Year distinction was presented at the 2018 MUFSO Conference in Dallas during the first week of October.  This recognition is awarded by Supermarket News.


Aldi has 1,800 locations in 35 states and has undertaken a $5.3 billion expansion over the next five years to upgrade stores and open approximately 900 new locations.  The MUFSO annual event brings together restaurant operators and food retailers under the umbrella of the NRN Restaurant and Food Group.


SE Outbreak in the U.K. Attributed to Imported Liquid Egg White


Public Health England has reported seven confirmed cases of Salmonella Enteritidis in the U.K. and a suspected case in Ireland.

The source of infection was a batch of Dr. Zak’s Barn Farm Liquid Egg White imported from France.  It is understood that the product contained raw material from Spain recalled on September 17th.


In addition to isolating SE from two batches of product, laboratories reported high counts of Enterobacteriacae and unacceptable aerobic plate counts. These findings suggest that the product was not subjected to effective pasteurization.


British Lion egg processors representing the body responsible for establishing standards and maintaining the national brand for U.K. eggs suggested that E.U. standards could be considered inferior to those pertaining in the U.K.


A food safety expert Dr. Lisa Ackerley quoted in Food Safety News stated, “Pasteurization alone has been shown not to give the assurance we all need, the raw product needs to be of a high standard as well and that’s why British Lion egg products stand apart.”  This comment is based more on promotion of U.K. product than on actual science. Pasteurization according to U.S. and U.K. parameters should effectively eliminate SE.  Post-pasteurization contamination due to defective equipment and packaging procedures could result in adulteration of egg liquids.


U.S. and Japan to Consider Bilateral Trade Agreement


Following the precipitous withdrawal of the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement immediately following initiation of the present Administration, trade negotiations between Japan and the U.S. have been in limbo. After a delay of almost two years Prime Minister Abe has agreed to bilateral trade negotiations.


At issue is the negative trade balance of $70 billion annually coupled with restrictions on importation of U.S. agricultural products to protect the domestic industry in Japan. One-third of Japan’s 4.7 million exports of automobiles are shipped to the U.S. contributing a high proportion of the negative trade balance. Threatened retaliatory tariffs on U.S. automobiles imported into Japan have been deferred until conclusion of bilateral trade discussions.


It is evident that Japan will be an important ally in any trade or diplomatic action taken against China.  Withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement created an advantage for China with respect to intra-Asian trade evidently to the detriment of U.S. commercial interests


Hendrix Genetics Introduces GeneVision for Shell Egg Evaluation


Hendrix Genetics in conjunction with electronic equipment manufacturers in Holland have developed the Eggxaminator to evaluate a range of heritable parameters associated with egg shells. Application of machine vision will expedite and extend the range of inspection and analysis.  The use of machine vision and electronic technology inherent to the system will reduce human error and subjectivity.  Enhanced evaluation of table eggs with incorporation into index selection will eventually benefit producers especially during the last third of the laying cycle.



Pearse Lyons Accelerator Soliciting Applications for 2019


Following two successive annual rounds of the Pearse Lyons Accelerator, applications are invited from agriculture technology start-ups to participate in the global program.  Conceived by the late Dr. T. Pearse Lyons, selected entrants in the program receive an $18,000 stipend and substantial contributions from social media companies. 


The successful companies selected for the 2019 program will present their concepts at          ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference in May 2019.  Dr. Mark Lyons, CEO and president of Alltech stated, “What other agri-tech startup puts you in front of 4,000 industry leaders and potential investors?”  He added, “If you’re looking for support from industry professionals, mentorship from the best in the agri-business and networking opportunities that have been instrumental in alumni accessing vital funding, then the Pearse Lyons Accelerator is for you.”


Aidan Connolly, Chief Innovation Officer at Alltech stated, “The Pearse Lyons Accelerator serves as the perfect vehicle to create visibility for us and our partners with the most disruptive ag-tech startups across the world.  He added, “A clear route to market remains a challenge for startups within the ag-tech industry. The program provides accelerated access to the global market with a comprehensive package of support to help navigate the challenge of scaling up their operations to provide service to large corporate customers.”


Dr. Mark Lyons added, “With this Accelerator, we carry on the legacy and entrepreneurial spirit of my late father, Dr. Pearse Lyons who had the desire and dedication to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs, who will transform the face of agriculture.”


Alumni of the Pearse Lyons Accelerator have collectively raised $28 million over the last three years. Ag-tech start-ups are encouraged to apply to the Pearse Lyons Accelerator program before December 7, 2018.  Information is available at <pearselyonsaccelerator.com>


AEB Presents Workshop for Retailers


Recently the American Egg Board presented workshops to ten major U.S. grocery chains.  Brand marketing, consumer insights and culinary issues were presented to encourage interest in eggs and egg products. The combination of market research, nutritional knowledge and logistics within the AEB and its affiliates benefits producers by stimulating demand.


FDA Bans Synthetic Flavoring Agents


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has removed seven synthetic flavoring substances from the Food Additives List. This action was taken under the Delaney Clause of the FD&C Act of 1958. The FDA did however determine that the various agents did not pose a risk to public health given very low levels of inclusion.

The FDA is allowing food producers to identify suitable replacement ingredients and reformulate their food products before October 9th 2020.

The move towards “clean labels” is probably preempting FDA action. The removal of the six compounds and styrene, which is no longer used as an additive, is in response to some public pressure and to avoid future litigation and Congressional pressure.


International Poultry Scientific Forum Contributes to USPOULTRY Foundation


The net proceeds from the 2018 International Poultry Scientific Forum amounting to $44,000, were presented to the USPOULTRY Foundation by Dr. Mary Beck, Executive Director of the Southern Poultry Sciences Society. Paul Hill, past USPOULTRY Foundation Chairman stated “We are very pleased to accept this donation from the International Poultry Scientific Forum. These funds will be used to support research and student recruitment benefitting the poultry and egg industries.


Wegmans’ Scale-Back Area of Cary, NC. Project


Wegmans has reduced the area of a new store scheduled for Cary, NC. by 30 percent to 103,000 square feet. According to Stephen Leaty of Wegmans, the Company “Adopted a smaller footprint for new stores to meet the demand of the changing marketplace.”  Leaty stated, “We are seeing changes in the way customers buy groceries and we have a design that will be more efficient.”


The reduction in size will reduce capital cost since the proposed parking garage beneath the store will no longer be needed. The Wegmans store will be completed during 2020 and will operate in an avowedly over-traded NC. Triangle market with Wegmans stores planned for Chapel Hill and a second in Cary.


Food Companies Launching Venture Funds


Following the example of Tyson Foods, Kraft Heinz has established Evolve Ventures to invest in emerging companies with the potential to transform the food industry.  Bill Pescatello will lead the fund with an initial investment of $100 million.


Bernardo Hees, CEO of Kraft Heinz stated, “New technological innovations in the food industry create endless new opportunities to strengthen business models.”  He added, “Through Evolve Ventures, we will work with tomorrow’s most innovative founders and companies in the space, and use the full resources of Kraft Heinz to help them succeed.”


Pescatello has accomplished a successful venture-capital career investing as a partner at Lightbank in Chicago and the Peacock Equity Fund affiliated to GE Capital and NBC Universal.


The move towards investment through venture capital is a departure for the relatively stagnant food industry.  It is apparent that internal R & D is not generating new concepts and products for commercialization.  Companies are diverting funds to entrepreneurs who are evolving from incubators and universities. Creativity requires talent and the freedom to innovate without the artificial restrictions imposed in a corporate environment.



Petition to Prohibit Non-GMO Label Claims


An advocacy organization the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has filed a petition with the U.S. FDA to prohibit the use of specific labeling on consumer foods and goods indicating that products are derived from non-GMO ingredients.


The Foundation claims that the butterfly logo franchised by the Non-GMO Project represents a false and misleading implication that conventional products are in some way healthier than GMO or bioengineered products.  Dr. Val Giddings, senior fellow at the Foundation stated, “The Non-GMO Project Butterfly Campaign deceives consumers through false and misleading claims about foods, food ingredients, and their health and safety characteristics.  She added, “The campaign constitutes misbranding under the law, and the FDA should act in the best interest of consumers and protect them, as the law demands, against the confusion spread by these false claims.”


In support of the petition, the Foundation cites the National Academy of Sciences and other scientific organizations that have found no deleterious effects from consumption of ingredients and food derived from GMO technology.  The Foundation also points out that the Non-GMO Project butterfly logo is applied to many products for which there are no bioengineered counterparts.


It is anticipated that the Non-GMO Project which has benefited financially from selling their logo will contest the petition since it strikes at the heart of their business which is based on a foundation of unfounded fear and anxiety.


The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 introduced by Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) was reintroduced into the House of Representatives and allows for voluntary labeling as to GMO content.  The Bill had the support of the Grocery Manufacturers Association which led to disaffection by a number of member companies favoring “fresh and natural” including Campbell Soup Company under the leadership of now displaced CEO Denise Morrison.  The Bill was also supported by many commodity groups including the American Soybean Association and the International Dairy Foods Association.


Opposition to the petition and presumably to the current FDA petition will be based on the canard of the “public right to know”.


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