Can You Guess How Many Eggs the Average American Eats in a Year?
As a country we're really, really into eggs right now. In fact, egg sales are at a 50-year high, according to The Washington Post, and the average American eats 279 eggs per year (that's like three omelets a week, or a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich roughly every workday).
But it wasn't always like this. The sharp uptick in eggs' popularity started in 2016, when the government updated its nutritional advice book, "Dietary Guidelines for Americans," with a major change: there were no longer restrictions on cholesterol (something public health messaging had deemed public enemy number one for the previous four decades). Suddenly, eggs (along with cholesterol-heavy proteins like shrimp and lobster) were fair game—a distinction that dovetailed nicely with the rise of paleo and ketogenic diets. They've also remained a popular topping for avocado toast, which doesn't seem to be going anywhere just yet.
Of course, there's always the possibility that eggs just have a phenomal publicist. And, if that's the case, Big Egg isn't alone— targeted PR campaigns are behind a lot of foods' recent meteoric rises. To name a few:
Kale: In the mid-aughts, The American Kale Association (yep) hired publicist Oberon Sinclair to grow the veggie's brand. She pitched the superfood to friends and former clients in the restaurant industry, and soon spots like New York City's The Fat Radish (represented by My Young Auntie, the PR firm Sinclair founded) were turning out kale-centric dishes (which were then heavily Instagrammed and shared). Hashtag kale.
Bacon: In the fat-phobic '80s, Big Pork had no trouble selling leaner cuts of meat, but they couldn't figure out how to move pork belly (a.k.a. the cut bacon comes from) off of store shelves. So, the pork board teamed up with the fast food industry, and the first result of that partnership—Hardee's "Frisco Burger," with melted Swiss cheese, bacon, and sliced tomatoes—was an instant hit. Soon, other fast food joints hopped aboard the bacon train, and before you knew it, the salty, fatty, meat was a pop culture phenomenon.
Acai: While the Brazilian berry hasn't quite reached kale heights of popularity, acai bowls have taken over Instagram in recent years (and acai-based smoothies have made their way into countless juice bars). You can blame Oberon Sinclair again—yes, kale and acai share a publicist.