Eggs are a raw material with unique properties, optimised by nature over millions of years. They are one of the most common cooking ingredients around.
Eggs are multi-functional
Egg yolks make it possible to disperse drops of oil when producing a mayonnaise or sauce. Egg whites and whole eggs can be whisked into a foam – when making meringues, for example, or cake bases. Eggs form gels and bind omelettes and quiches, among other things. In addition to this, eggs bring colour and flavour to a whole host of dishes. Eggs are also something of a “vitamin pill”, full of nutrients.
Most of these properties are further developed and optimised by Källbergs in our production process. Källbergs offers unique solutions for customers who have specific requirements concerning the properties, nutritional values and appearance of the egg products.
The feed composition optimises nutritional values
Egg yolks get their colour from their carotenoid content. Carotenoids also have antioxidant properties. Hens cannot produce carotenoids themselves; they obtain these from their feed. Egg yolks can be anything from pale yellow to orange-coloured, based on the composition of the hens’ feed.
Depending on feed components, it is even possible to create egg products that have optimised nutritional properties. We focus on the nutrients that many are deficient in as a result of modern diets, such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin D, folate, selenium and more.
Källbergs' process optimises the eggs' functional proterties
At Källbergs, we can influence the functional properties of egg products based on how the process is conducted, for example through heat treatment. It is also possible to create products that have different ratios of yolk to egg white, or that have been processed with other ingredients.
In such a way, we can alter or enhance the eggs’:emulsifying properties
– dispersion of oil in water
– foaming properties
– creation and stabilisation of air bubbles in liquids
– gelling ability
– creation of a cohesive structure in a food– colour and taste
Eggs are climate-smart and environmentally friendly
Compared with other animal products, eggs have a low environmental impact; it is equal to that of chicken production. An important reason why we eat food of animal origin is its content of high-quality protein.
A recognised method for evaluating the environmental impact of animal products is therefore to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions per kg of protein produced.
For the same quantities of protein produced, emissions from beef production are just over ten times greater than those of eggs (1); those of lamb production are just under eight times greater and those of cheese/milk and pork production are three times greater.
The primary reason why eggs are climate-smart is the hens’ ability to convert feed into eggs. Little feed is used: only 2 kg per kg of eggs produced. This means that the area needed to cultivate the hens’ feed is small, which is also positive for the environment.
1 Report 17 – 2013. Miljöpåverkan från animalieprodukter – kött, mjölk och ägg (“The environmental impact of animal products – beef, milk and eggs”), M. Wallmann, M Berglund and C Cederberg, SIK, Livsmedelsverket (the National Food Agency, Sweden).
Eggs and vitamin D
Vitamin D is produced by the skin when exposed to UV radiation, but in countries where there is little sunlight – in northern Europe, for example – vitamin D deficiencies are common. This is because during much of the year there is insufficient solar radiation to meet the body’s needs of the vitamin. The vitamin D content of food is therefore particularly important. Eggs are one of the few food products that contain compelling quantities of the vitamin.When analysing the vitamin D content of different food products, vitamin D3 was, until recently, the only form taken into consideration.
However, in several countries analyses have now been made of a more potent form of the vitamin: 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3). According to research, its biological activity is roughly five times that of vitamin D3.
Analyses are now beginning to calculate amounts of “vitamin D equivalents”, based on a product’s content of vitamin D3 and 25(OH)D3. In such calculations, the 25(OH)D3 content is multiplied by five in order to take into account its higher level of activity. This makes the actual vitamin D content of eggs roughly double that noted in most food databases.
Children and egg allergies
The recommendations for when one can start giving children eggs have changed throughout the western world; this is the case in the USA and Sweden, for example. The recommendation is now that children should become accustomed to eating eggs from a young age. Previously, it was believed that one could prevent the development of allergies by holding off introducing potential allergenic foods into a child’s diet until they were over one year old. More recent research has shown that this is not the case. In the advice given in Sweden, eggs are now highlighted as important foods – even for young children over six months old.
In the USA, the recommendation is that eggs may be given to children from as early as four months old. A number of other countries and expert organisations have also changed their directions in a similar manner.