A bold new vision and five-year strategic plan
By Emily Metz
American Egg Board
Special to Poultry Times
CHICAGO — Friends, it has been a challenging year for everyone, not least the food industry. But challenges can actually be huge opportunities. The world and the consumer have changed dramatically, and the lessons we have learned will have a lasting impact, drive future innovation and shape consumer mindsets.
As you’ve no doubt found in your own businesses, we at the American Egg Board (AEB) believe the time is right to set an exciting new course. In September, the AEB’s Board of Directors unanimously approved an ambitious new Strategic Vision & Five-Year Plan that we believe will yield significant value for America’s egg farmers and the U.S. egg industry, both near and long-term.
While no one could have predicted what we would encounter in 2020, or in the future, for that matter, we can plan and prepare for anything that lies ahead. To future-proof America’s egg industry, we must be nimble, able to adapt to changing circumstances, rapidly implement technology, and look forward, not backward. We must invest in new opportunities to always meet consumers where they are.
We developed the AEB’s Strategic Vision & Five-Year Plan with this in mind, in a collaborative effort between our leadership team and Executive Committee, with extensive input from our producers, leaders and broader industry. It is progressive and forward-looking, and it will provide both the compass and blueprint that guide our work for the next several years and beyond — creating a lasting legacy and generating dividends for egg producers, our industry partners and our consumers.
A progressive path to a prosperous future
Every journey is a matter of steps, and ours begins with articulating a strategic vision for the U.S. egg industry around which all of our stakeholders can align, and that can endure regardless of circumstances:
Eggs are indispensable in the daily lives of global consumers because of the shared understanding of the incredible egg and its unparalleled nutrition, versatility and value; insightful innovation; sustainability; and simple joy eggs deliver every day.
Obviously, a vision of this magnitude requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach. To that end, the AEB is restructuring — how we are organized, how we budget, how we engage our stakeholders — around a goal-based model comprised of six strategic imperatives.
Six Strategic Goals
- Ensure that the consumer is core to all AEB initiatives by using consumer data and intelligence to shape egg promotion to drive demand domestically and abroad.
- Bolster the egg’s story by leveraging its innumerable attributes and sharing its relevance in a meaningful and engaging way.
- Give voice to our farmers’ values: responsibly producing a safe, sustainable, nutrient-rich protein that is part of the solution to global malnutrition.
- Spark innovation by integrating cutting-edge insights and cultivating partnerships.
- Increase awareness, maximize return on investment and secure additional resources for the checkoff.
- Further strengthen the AEB by elevating talent, leveraging technology, maximizing efficiencies and striving for organizational excellence.
Leading through insights and innovation
Each of our six strategic objectives has been carefully mapped out and integrated within the AEB’s Five-Year Strategic Plan and we intend to fire on all cylinders.
Elements of goals one and four, in particular, carry significant importance for our producers and allied industry and will also be noteworthy to our partners in manufacturing, retail and foodservice.
Consumer intelligence hub
No matter the market, channel or product in which the incredible egg is present, at the very end of the chain is a hungry consumer. To effectively reach and influence consumers, it is critical that we fully understand them.
To achieve this, the AEB is building a best-in-class advanced insights and intelligence hub. The hub will collect, collate and analyze data to yield a deep understanding of current and future consumers, and generate actionable intelligence for the entire industry to capitalize on.
The insights derived from this hub will be at the center of all AEB programs, maximizing our effectiveness, driving a higher ROI for our producers and providing a competitive edge to our stakeholders and partners. Importantly, we envision this intelligence hub to be a new, accessible tool for the industry at large to leverage, ensuring we are all smarter together.
Industry innovation engine
To maintain a competitive edge, preserve our position as the protein of choice, and increase frequency, usage and occasion in a world rife with disruption, we must continue to put eggs in front of consumers around the world in new and exciting ways.
To that end, the AEB is establishing an innovation incubator — to be driven by consumer insights from our cutting-edge insights hub — that will allow us to pressure test ideas for products, packaging and production techniques and take risks, safely, on behalf of the entire industry. We will serve as the pre-competitive “safe space” for trial and determine the most promising opportunities for disruption, invention and action.
We will also embed ourselves with downstream customers, helping to create menu items and product offerings and to establish new channels and markets for collaborations with the incredible egg. Harnessing the power of the industry and our partners will allow the U.S. egg industry to pilot moonshot ideas and ensure that our industry evolves alongside — or even ahead of — consumer preferences so we can be cutting edge, always.
Setting the standard for modern agricultural checkoffs
With board approval and 2021 funding for the AEB’s Strategic Vison & Five-Year Plan completed in September, we are already moving rapidly to implement. Building the consumer insights hub and the industry innovation center will take time, but once standing, we expect ours will be a model for checkoff organizations across U.S. agriculture.
The AEB’s Strategic Vision & Five-Year Plan sets the tone for a new kind of checkoff — one that dreams big and delivers a new level of business value to its members and partners. Executed as planned, it will enable the industry and our partners to more rapidly pivot and to seize new opportunities more completely and confidently in an era when agility and adaptability are table stakes.
As I noted, our aim is to future-proof our egg industry. The AEB’s Strategic Vision & Five-Year Plan provides an ambitious roadmap to accomplish this — ensuring the long-term security and prosperity of America’s egg farmers and the incredible egg’s position as an essential, indispensable part of people’s lives.
More than that, the goal of this plan is to collaborate with you in meaningful ways and at the speed to which you are used to operating: the speed of business. We look forward to you holding us accountable to these goals in the coming years.
Wishing everyone safe and happy holidays and an incredible new year!
Emily Metz is president and CEO of the American Egg Board with offices in Chicago, Ill. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.