About the research

The egg industry community research program is being developed by CSIRO to explore the attitudes of Australians towards the egg industry. It will be based on a community survey containing a range of questions and seek opinions on a wide variety of topics related to egg production and consumption.

Research outputs will be shared on this website, the Australian Eggs website, in public reports, and academic publications.

The egg industry community research has been funded by Australian Eggs, a member-owned not-for-profit company providing research & development, marketing, and industry information services to the Australian egg industry. The purpose of the egg industry community research is to:

  • evaluate community sentiment;
  • provide a way for the community to contribute meaningfully to decision-making processes within Australian Eggs and its members regarding research projects, management practices, and other issues; and
  • Inform ongoing public engagement activities by Australian Eggs.

Your voice matters

Completing the community survey will provide an opportunity to have your say and help inform the Australian egg industry’s decision making. The community survey is part of a CSIRO research program into the impacts and contributions of the egg industry and will take about 20 minutes to complete. The survey is open to all Australian residents, aged 18 years or older.

The research is a deep-dive into the sometimes conflicting factors that influence community perceptions, such as carbon footprint, cost of food, animal welfare, and economic contribution. All industries have impacts at some level and the goal of the research is to examine the issues, both positive and negative, from multiple angles to form a 3D picture of the relationship.

Alongside this open invitation for community members to have their say, views from a sample of around 5,000 Australians are being collected. The research will provide insights into the relationship between the egg industry and the community and identify pathways to deeper levels of trust and acceptance.

Complete the 2020 community survey

The roles

The process is being driven by Australian Eggs but the research is being conducted independently by CSIRO. Put simply, CSIRO does the research and the egg industry decides what to do with it.

Community

The community is the Australian public. The process will explore community views on egg industry issues through a statistically representative sample of 5,000 people as well as an ‘open call’ to participate for anyone that is interested.

CSIRO

CSIRO is Australia’s leading science agency. CSIRO will conduct the research process by engaging with stakeholders directly, collecting survey data, analysing it, and providing it to Australian Eggs in a useable format. While CSIRO will be paid by Australian Eggs to conduct the research, the CSIRO governance structure protects research integrity and the independence of its science outputs.

Australian Eggs

Australian Eggs is the research and development corporation for the egg industry.  Australian Eggs will support CSIRO in conducting the research by providing information on the egg industry and its stakeholders and making the research outputs publicly available. After the work of CSIRO is completed, Australian Eggs will engage with industry stakeholders and ensure that the Sustainability Framework Report in response to the CSIRO research has their input.

Egg industry

The egg industry includes egg farming businesses and other businesses along the supply chain such as veterinarians and feed companies and egg industry representative bodies. Australian Eggs commits to transparent reporting of CSIRO’s findings so interested parties can understand why and how the egg industry is responding to the research.

Key steps

Background research

In May 2018, CSIRO conducted background research on the egg industry to establish a factual footing on the egg supply chain and enable the CSIRO team to engage with stakeholders on complex industry issues. This included desktop research and engagement with Australian Eggs to understand the role of industry stakeholders.

Stakeholder engagement

In June 2018, CSIRO engaged with industry and external stakeholders to ensure that a community survey could be developed that is focused on the most relevant industry issues. This was done by directly engaging with a broad range of stakeholders to seek their views on the impacts and contributions of the egg industry. The issues covered in the interviews were:

  • How the stakeholder relates or fits into the Australian egg industry
  • What issues are most important for the industry to be addressing across the value chain; and
  • More detailed understanding of each component of the Sustainability Framework from the perspective of each stakeholder group.

The stakeholder engagement process included a selection of industry and external stakeholders that were likely to have a good understanding of egg industry issues. Stakeholders were identified based on their role or expertise in relation to each of the key areas of the Sustainability Framework and included egg farmers and egg industry suppliers, government departments, financiers, retailers, and non-government organisations.

Community survey development

In July 2018, information collected through the stakeholder engagement process was analysed by CSIRO to identify key themes that are most relevant in an egg industry context.

These themes were then used as an input to the development of the community survey which will be directed towards exploring community views on:

  • the egg industry generally;
  • the key areas of people, animal welfare, the environment, and economic viability; and
  • specific industry issues.

The community survey process differs from other market research in that it seeks to explore industry issues from multiple perspectives and build a more robust understanding of the underlying values that influence the views of the community on the egg industry.

The key themes from the stakeholder engagement process were made available on the CSIRO research project and Australian Eggs websites upon the commencement of the community survey.

2018 community survey

In August 2018, the community survey was made available in two ways:

  • a statistically representative sample of 5,000 members of the community; and
  • ‘open call’ via the CSIRO and Australian Eggs websites for anyone that is interested to participate.

The sample of 5,000 community members is larger than is required to conduct statistical analysis and is designed to ensure that the sample both is and appears to be representative of society at large.

The sample of community members is representative as it is based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics demographic profile (e.g. age, gender, education) for every area in which data is collected and data collection is spread across Australia.

In September 2018, CSIRO closed the survey and analysed the data. The first step in this process was ‘cleaning’ the data by identifying and managing missing data that may distort the results, and ensuring the data is in a shape that supports an accurate interpretation of statistical analyses. Once the data was clean it was analysed for insights.

In social science research such as opinion polling or marketing research, the aim is to provide a surface-level understanding of the story in the data. This analysis often provides what we call a ‘descriptive’ account of the data, describing what people think in percentage terms or average scores on each item. This can be useful but it doesn’t provide a deeper understanding of why people think the way they do or provide much guidance on how to address community concerns.

CSIRO will undertake both descriptive and inferential analyses of the community survey data to both describe what the data looks like and draw inferences as to why it looks this way. This will provide the Australian egg industry with constructive and meaningful ways to address the issues identified through the analyses.

CSIRO’s Australian Egg Industry Community Research – 2018 Report was released in October 2018 and is available to download here.

Engage on research outputs

In November 2018, Australian Eggs engaged egg industry stakeholders to extend the research outputs to egg farmers. This kind of research usually generates a mix of expected insights and new insights that require some reflection and discussion among egg farmers and other industry stakeholders. It is through these discussions that a deep understanding of the research outputs and their implications will be found.

Develop Sustainability Framework Report

In December 2018 and January 2019, Australian Eggs developed content for the Sustainability Framework Report. The Report includes information on the issues raised in the community survey to enable the community to better understand the drivers for the impacts and contributions of the egg industry.

This process was conducted in consultation with egg industry stakeholders and representative bodies with a view to ensuring the information provided is accurate and reflects industry practice.

Release Sustainability Framework Report

In January 2019, Australian Eggs published the Sustainability Framework Report for review and consideration by all interested stakeholders.

2019 community survey

The 2019 community survey closed on 31 August 2019 and the report released on 1 November 2019 and is available here. Australians, aged 18 years and older, were once again invited to participate. The research was again conducted using a survey of Australians through a statistically representative sample of over 5,000 people as well as an ‘open call’ to participate for anyone that is interested. The goal was to examine industry issues, both positive and negative, from multiple angles to understand the values driving community attitudes.

In 2019, the CSIRO research team built on the findings from the Australian Egg Industry Research Report released by CSIRO in October 2018 to obtain a deeper understanding of community attitudes to the egg industry.

“Changing consumer attitudes are influencing how food is produced and one of the main aims of our research is to help egg farmers better understand the drivers of this change. The social science model we’ve developed at CSIRO allows survey participants to consider the impacts and contributions of an industry from multiple angles and that data helps us understand not only what people think, but why they think that way. We expect the results will provide real and compelling data that will help egg farmers understand the diversity of community attitudes and, ultimately, future proof their businesses.” – Senior Research Scientist, Dr Kieren Moffat.

These core elements of the survey are defined as:

  • Items found to be important drivers of trust in the egg industry in Australia. That is the responsiveness of the egg industry to community concern, the manner in which the egg industry is regulated, and whether the benefits of the egg industry outweigh the costs.

The values of arrows in the graphic are called beta weights and represent the relative strength of each relationship: a higher number means that pathway is stronger than one with a lower number.

  • Items that explore community sentiment across the four key areas of:
    • Lives of people
    • Hen welfare
    • Environmental impact
    • Economic viability
  • Items that provide additional insight into why community members feel the way they do about the egg industry e.g. people’s views on broader issues such as the environment and animal welfare.

Reflecting the evolving nature of the egg industry in Australia, additional items were included in the 2019 survey to ensure current issues are captured effectively. Additional items that help to extend the survey instrument’s measurement capacity were also included.

2020 community survey

In 2020, the CSIRO research team is once again building on the findings from the Australian Egg Industry Research Report released in 2018 and 2019 to obtain a deeper understanding of community attitudes to the egg industry. A review of last year’s research review was undertaken in March and the 2020 survey instrument was developed in April. The 2020 community survey was undertaken between 27 April and 5 June 2020. 

The structure and content from last year’s survey remained largely the same to allow a comparison of community sentiment to be made. Additional items were included this year to extend the survey instrument’s measurement capacity and ensure current issues are captured effectively.

The 2020 community survey results are available now. Learn more

The timeline for the 2020 community survey.

Ethical Science

This study has been cleared in accordance with the ethical review processes of CSIRO, within the guidelines of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. Any concerns or complaints about the conduct of this study can be raised with the Manager of Social Responsibility and Ethics on (07) 3833 5693 or via email at csshrec@csiro.au.