Australia is seeing high levels of demand for emu eggs, driven by huge interest from restaurants. Emu farmers are reportedly selling the eggs at high prices as there are low supplies relative to market demand.
Though the emu is a bird native to Australia, very few people have actually tried the bird’s eggs. In recent years, there has been an increasing curiosity among Australians to know how the eggs taste. Inquiries about emu egg dishes started coming in at restaurants and it has now turned into a craze. Restaurants are buying the eggs to use as a novelty dish on their menus.
“People will bend over backward to try and get native Australian ingredients on their menus and emu eggs are one of those things… In the last five or six years, it has been a really big thing. Not just the emu egg, but the emu dish itself. When we first started here five years ago, we’d barely sell an emu, we’d barely sell kangaroo… but kangaroo and emu eggs are now selling better than steak and things like that,” Ash Martin, Chef at Scenic Rim, said to ABC News.
Emu eggs have a lot more yolk in them, which makes them a good buy when compared to other eggs. As far as the flavor is concerned, it tends to be on the richer side. However, since emus are fed on grains the same as hens, the eggs usually taste similar to chicken eggs. Some restaurant chefs make a sponge out of the eggs that tend to have a stronger flavor.
Emu farmers are minting money due to the huge demand. One farmer from Queensland claims to have sold almost 3,000 emu eggs in just three months. Most of his clients are retirees. However, interest from young bodybuilders has increased, as many of them wish to incorporate the eggs into their dietary regimen. Another farmer claimed that he is never able to supply eggs to all his restaurant clients and is planning on buying more emus because of the tremendous demand for the eggs.
“A dozen chicken eggs cost around AU$6, whereas one emu egg can be AU$15 or more… Eggs, in general, are a nutrient-dense food that provides good-quality protein, along with other vitamins and minerals… They are also great as a quick nutritious meal or snack… One emu egg is equal to about eight to 10 chicken eggs, so you wouldn’t eat a whole emu egg all to yourself, but it may be useful to feed a crowd,” Maria Packard, spokeswoman for the Dietitians Association of Australia, said to The New Daily.
Emu eggs were usually eaten by the aboriginal Australians as a traditional seasonal treat. These eggs are richer in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) when compared to hen eggs. In addition, they also have 31 percent saturated and 68 percent unsaturated fats. And similar to hen eggs, they contain all eight essential amino acids. An average emu egg contains approximately 36 percent fat and 15.5 percent protein.
According to nutritionists, emu eggs do not provide any significant health benefit over hen eggs. Yet, emu eggs tend to be overpriced in the current market because of the big craze among foodies.