Large egg company Cal-Maine Foods (CMF) released its earnings report for 2017, and the numbers looked dire. For the first time in over one decade, the company reported a loss of $74.3 million for the last fiscal year. The company’s profit plummeted by $24.5 million in its fourth-quarter alone—a stark contrast to the $367,000 that the company lost in the same time period last year. CMF’s CEO Adolphus (“Dolph”) Baker attributed the dramatic decline to the growth of the egg alternatives industry, which includes vegan-friendly items such as flax, tofu, and prepared products that contain potato starch and tapioca. In 2015, the avian flu swept across chickens exploited in the egg industry, causing many egg suppliers to mass-slaughter birds. During that time, egg-free mayonnaise Just Mayo by Hampton Creek rose in popularity in the retail segment—becoming the only mayonnaise used in prepared sandwiches by chain convenience store 7-Eleven—and in the foodservice industry via Compass Group (a leading food supplier of school and office cafeterias nationwide). Baker says that while “supply” has now been restocked, demand for eggs never recovered.
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