The bird flu scare and the shortage of egg imports have resulted in an increase in the use of powdered egg from Europe by food companies.
Many bakeries and food processing plants in the Gulf have replaced fresh and liquid eggs with powder, said exhibitors at the Ingredients Middle East show in Dubai.
The Middle East market for egg products is around 150,000 tonnes per year and bird flu and the ban on poultry imports from India have caused a shortage.
"Demand for egg powder in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the GCC witnessed 30 per cent growth from September 2007," said Abdelhak Kandil, Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa of Belovo, a Belgium firm that produces powdered egg.
"Each time a poultry ban is imposed our powder sales shoot up substantially. Most customers who used shell egg and liquid egg have switched over to powdered egg, which has a long shelf life and is easy to handle. Other companies selling powdered egg have experienced similar growth.
"Cheap Indian eggs were widely used by the food processing industry in the UAE, but after the total ban on imports powdered egg emerged as the best alternative. We produce 20 million eggs per day and only 1.5 million eggs are processed in our Belgium plant. We have poultry farms in Argentina, Brazil, India and China as well as in Europe."
Loic Columbel, Commercial Director of Liot Sas, a French company producing poultry products, said sales of powdered egg had shot up in the Middle East and North Africa market due to bird flu.
"Our powdered egg have same characteristics as fresh eggs and there are no chemical ingredients," he said. "There is no need for a cold room to store eggs."
Egg powder extract, yolk, whole egg powder and egg white components are used to make cakes, sauces, mayonnaise, sweets, pastry, quiches, meat products and even pharmaceuticals and baby food.
Jilin Jinyi Egg Products of China – one of the largest producers of powdered egg products in Asia – is focusing on Halal egg powder.
Ingredients Middle East continued at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre today.