Relative Importance of External Quality Attributes of Shell Eggs: A Consumer Preference Approach
Three Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and questionnaires (n= 120) from two sensory evaluation sessions were used to identify, rank and compare external quality attributes of shell eggs for their relative importance. Data collected were described and analysed inferentially. The identified attributes were also matched to consumer quality expectations. Quality attributes identified in order of importance were size, cleanliness, colour, uniformity and texture with respective scores of 56, 47, 24, 14 and 8. An inferential comparison of the attributes however, showed that size and cleanliness were rated higher (P<0.05) than colour, uniformity and texture, with no significant (P>0.05) sub-class differences. Respondents expected large eggs to have more edible material; clean shells to signify freshness and safety, while dark coloured eggs were expected to be more nutritious and to have stronger shells. It is suggested that these attributes could form a basis for the development of a grading system in Nigeria. Also egg retailers could gain some competitive advantage by paying attention to the attributes identified, especially those of higher relative importance like large size and shell cleanliness.