The American Egg Board (AEB) has unveiled the Eggcelerator LabTM, a network of innovation and insights capabilities, resources and expertise designed to bring new egg-based ideas to market. As the innovation center for the egg industry, the Eggcelerator Lab is developing market-ready products representing new uses for eggs and egg ingredients and new ways to consume eggs.
“The Eggcelerator Lab is aligned with the American Egg Board’s mission to drive demand for US eggs and egg products, while unlocking new potential value for customers and serving ever-changing consumer needs and desires,” said Emily Metz, President and CEO of the AEB. “It’s exciting. The Eggcelerator Lab will put more eggs in front of more people in new ways and will increase opportunities and the size of the market for America’s egg farmers.”
The Eggcelerator Lab is grounded in research and insights that are driving internal AEB innovation initiatives while also informing clients as they begin the food development journey. Currently, the Eggcelerator Lab is engaging with dozens of clients and executing pilot projects across industries, including with CPG manufacturers, restaurant chains and others to help bring new products to market that increase demand for eggs and create new value for customers.
“We had a single objective: to develop a breakfast sandwich for a major national retail chain. Rather than having a narrow focus from the start, the American Egg Board’s Eggcelerator Lab team pushed us to look holistically at the entire breakfast category — hot savory sandwiches, wraps, upscale sandwiches and more,” said Andy Johnson, Vice President of Foodservice Sales and Marketing at West Liberty Foods. “This approach was hugely beneficial and validated our focus. The Lab’s process proved effective and efficient from a supplier standpoint.”
In addition to proprietary research insights, clients who engage the Eggcelerator Lab have access to:
- V.V.O. Innovation Process, a customizable four-phase innovation process: Opportunity, Visualize, Validate, Operationalize.
- V.V.O Concept Library featuring more than 250 new egg-based product recipes and ideas backed by research and technical feasibility assessments.
- An unparalleled network of partners, including manufacturers, suppliers, university researchers and subject matter experts that help clients drive innovation projects from ideation to market.
“The value we bring to clients starts with our emphasis on whitespace discovery where we identify market opportunities — what’s happening and how clients can take advantage of current food trends, from integrating eggs into plant-based foods to leveraging grab-and-go protein-based food options,” said Nate Hedtke, the AEB’s Vice President of Insights and Innovation.
For nearly two years, the AEB has worked strategically to develop the Eggcelerator Lab and ensure the right partnerships are in place, including CuliNEX, a clean-label food innovation company that brings expertise in food science and culinary arts to develop on-trend culinary egg-based concepts for clients. Currently, the Eggcelerator Lab team is testing several concepts with national restaurant chains and consumer packaged brands, including new on-the-go hot breakfast ideas including sandwiches and breakfast bowls infused with a global essence.
Simultaneously, research insights have led to new ways to use existing technology to create unique egg ingredients and new ways to cook eggs. And the AEB’s internal innovation pipeline is helping unlock industry opportunities that will make an impact on the market. For example, the Eggcelerator Lab is exploring how to deliver pre-cooked eggs with runny yolks in a grab-and-go format for consumers wanting this type of snack.
“The opportunities for eggs are endless and the AEB’s Eggcelerator Lab is already cracking open the future of eggs,” said Hedtke.
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