Communicating results of nutrition-based research keeps demand
for eggs and egg sales strong.
Joanne Ivy, a thirty-two year veteran of the
egg industry, began her career as executive
director of the North Carolina Egg Association. After twenty-two years with the American Egg Board (AEB), serving in positions of
increasing responsibility, Ivy was named to
the position of president and chief executive officer succeeding
Louis B. Raffel effective January 2007.
In 2005 she was
Joanne Ivy awarded the Denis
Trophy as the International Egg Person of the
Year by the International Egg Commission
(IEC). She has chaired the Marketing Committee of this organization for 12 years and has
served on the Executive Committee.
At the 2008 IEC Annual Meeting in Shanghai, Ivy received the Golden Egg Trophy on
behalf of the AEB for an innovative marketing
program judged as the best from among a large
number of competing submissions.
In late October, Ivy shared her observations
on the activities of the AEB and current trends
with Egg Industry.
➤Egg Industry: What are major challenges
facing our industry and what do you view
as possible solutions?
Joanne Ivy: I think the top two challenges
facing our industry are animal welfare and
economic uncertainty. Our sister organization,
United Egg Producers, has been courageously
leading the charge on behalf of the industry on
the animal welfare front.
No one knows for sure where our economy
is headed in the near term. I can assure you
that AEB has been working hard to maintain
demand for eggs during these stressful times
Prices for food products have increased by
over 4% this year, the highest annual increase
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in almost 20 years. Despite record high prices
for eggs, sales have declined less than other
dairy-case items including milk and cheese.
Although there have been increases in retail
prices for the various categories and grades,
demand for eggs has remained strong which
has benefited producers.
➤EI: What are some of the recent achieve-
ments of the AEB under your leadership?
JI: I’m most proud of the development of
a program of scientific research on nutrition
which has received peer recognition. Based on
our publications we have largely marginalized
the issue of cholesterol. Consumer concern is
at an all-time low which has removed a major barrier against increased egg consumption.
Instead of being regarded as a “questionable”
food, eggs are now considered an important
part of a healthy diet.
➤EI: How will the AEB extend sales of eggs
especially to the food service market?
JI: We have worked closely with quick
service restaurants since we recognized that
one-third of all breakfasts are eaten away from
home. All the major restaurant chains credit
breakfast business with increasing their same-store sales with breakfast egg sandwiches as
the top growth item. The AEB has partnered
with chains including Burger King, Wendy’s,
Panera and others and we believe we have added 600 million more eggs to the food service
channel over the last two years.
➤EI: What will be the focus of AEB activi-
ties during the coming year?
This year the AEB has delivered more than
one billion consumer impressions for eggs. We
have identified the potential to promote mental
and physical energy and all-natural high quality protein which is especially of interest to
caregivers of school-age children. We will pursue branded entertainment partnerships with
programs such as the “Rachel Ray Show,”
“Mike and Juliet” and “Mr. Food.” Our public
relations efforts should secure positive media
coverage for eggs.