Trend alert: People still like eggs

Put an egg on it. In a well-known Portlandia sketch, two hipster-preneurs reveal their secret trick for transforming sad tote bags and drab lamp shades: put a bird on it, bitches, and things get covetable quick. We’ve all experienced the culinary equivalent, of course—the way a simple egg (soft-cooked, fried, or poached) can redeem an uninspired dish, or make a good one almost holy. Well, new data shows that we’re putting an egg on it at an ever-increasing rate, from fancy sisig dishes in San Francisco to the “All-Day Brunch burger” at Applebee’s in the Midwest. And the American Egg Board (AEB) couldn’t be happier.

In a “trend update” released this week, the AEB puts some numbers behind our deepening egg obsession. Since 2015, it says, there’s been a 4.8 percent rise in people putting an egg on it. (How does one measure such a thing? We have no idea.) “In answer to consumer demand for cleaner labeled, more natural ingredients, eggs are popping up on all manner of other food items throughout the day,” the report says. “They also fill the consumer desire for higher protein foods.” Fried eggs are the fastest-growing add-on with a 6.8 percent increase in 2016. And though eggs top ever more highbrow burgers (6 percent) and frilly salads (8.3 percent), that’s just the start—25 percent more stirfrys were crowned with eggs in 2016, and fully twice the curries. Getting hungry? Your best bet is to head to a “regional or emerging chain” restaurant—where a whopping 48 percent of all gratuitous egg usage takes place.

Meanwhile, ramen chefs and French cooks everywhere rolled their eyes at the idea that this is somehow news.

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Joe Fassler is The Counter's deputy editor. His reporting has been included in The Best American Food Writing and twice nominated for a James Beard Media Award. A 2019 - 2020 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he's the author of two books: a novel, The Sky Was Ours (forthcoming from Penguin Books), and Light the Dark: Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process.