This article is part of our in-depth Meat, Fish & Poultry feature.

Eggs have always provoked debate. ‘Which came first?’ obviously. But also: is soft or hard boiled best? Is virtuous egg white healthier than rich yellow yolk? Are eggs still riddled with salmonella? And is it safe for pregnant women to eat them runny?

Now another curious question has emerged. Despite egg sales soaring to levels not seen since the 1950s, and the notorious salmonella scare of 1988 (when sales nosedived by 60% and four million hens were slaughtered), now as distant a memory as Edwina Currie’s political career, why is there such a dearth of egg-related NPD on the market?

Short of packaged hard-boiled eggs from The Crackin’ Egg Co and soft-boiled versions from Dippy Egg (later to become Yowk!), which are effectively still just eggs, apparently only one company in the UK, Two Chicks, is doing anything to push the boundaries.

Inspired by the popularity of egg white while living in LA, Anna Richey launched Two Chicks with co-founder Alla Ouvarova in 2007 with a carton of liquid egg white. It also does liquid whole egg and a pancake mix. But in December 2014 it launched Chirps, a crunchy combination of rice flour and 22% egg white available in sour cream & onion, sea salt & cracked black pepper, and smokey jalapeño flavours.

Two chicks egg white omelette mix


Each 28g bag contains 9g of protein, which is quadruple the amount found in a bag of potato crisps, and 110 calories per pack, which is 25% less than a packet of Walkers. It’s a very similar product to one launched by Intelligent Protein Snacks in the US in the summer of 2014. Yet in the UK, at least, the high-protein low-calorie egg-focused snack appears to be the only product on UK shelves that makes eggs the star attraction (and isn’t actually an egg).

“Eggs are a very pure, natural protein,” says Richey. “You have lots of things like whey protein, or protein bars, and lots of them are quite manufactured. We wanted a crisp-style snack that’s high protein and low carb and there was nothing. We could have used a different type of protein, but we wanted a natural form of protein and it was obviously the right one for us given our branding and our egg white. And they are doing well. They are in Holland & Barratt, Ocado, Amazon and Whole Foods. It’s growing.”


Still, there is no other NPD on the horizon for Two Chicks “although we might look at other flavours” for Chirps. Even Chirps were “not an obvious thing. And some people didn’t like the idea when we did focus groups. They liked the idea of a high-protein crisp, just not the idea of having egg in it. And if I didn’t have an egg white company I probably wouldn’t have done it.”

Part of the “beauty of an egg is its simplicity so why would consumers want companies to mess with it?” says Alex Ririe from design agency Coley Porter Bell, which develops new brand concepts for the likes of Müller and Ambrosia.

“The truth is they probably don’t. And that’s what lies at the heart of why there hasn’t been much innovation in this category from a consumer perspective.”

’The beauty of an egg is its simplicity so why would consumers want companies to mess with it?’

There has been behind the scenes, she adds, particularly in terms of “provenance and packaging. Pinterest brings up some incredible egg packaging, and brands like Happy Eggs have made the category less commoditised. Aligned with some consumer concerns about animal welfare, this really has been the main development in the egg industry in recent years.”

Ultimately, she says, in order for any “true innovation” in the egg category to take place there needs to be a “desire by egg companies to invest” in creating a product that reacts to “genuine customer or consumer need”. And that’s not happening, not least because “consumers are reluctant to mess with the pure genius of nature when there’s not much gain”.

But for protein-loving gym bunnies looking for muscle gains, eggs are up there with the best ways to do it. And with the sports nutrition category adopting an increasingly innovative approach to NPD in order to broaden the category away from bars and powder, are we about to see a rash of egg-related sports nutrition products?


Unlikely, says Chay Watkins, head of marketing at sports nutrition brand Sci-Mx. “People will buy it in liquid form or put seven egg whites in an omelette, but in general it’s very tricky to work with. For sports nutrition it’s the fresh element of it. And there is little more that you can do with an egg other than extract the nutrients from it. In the UK there is much more innovation that will drive more engagement in the sports nutrition category around the corner. Eggs are a little bit too far out at the moment.”

Yet don’t rule out more innovation in the future, says Andrew Joret, chairman of the British Egg Industry Council, even if they might remain centred around a basic egg. He says he has been “excited” to see grab and go options like boiled egg protein pots topped with spinach. “Consumers have woken up to the benefits of eggs,” he says. “And as the market catches up with consumer demand, and less traditional options like protein pots become more available, it’s only a matter of time before we see food manufacturers and retailers offering eggs in increasingly innovative formats.”