Australian smoked eggs go global
How an obsession with a smoker led to a multimillion-dollar food innovation that’s finding fans all over the world.
Julie and Paul Kos had no idea that purchasing a smoker they saw at a trade show could set their egg business on the path to international success.
The husband-and-wife team were farming eggs in western Victoria in 2015 when they attended Fine Food Show, where they first saw the smoker that triggered their obsession.
“When we got home, he [Paul] started smoking everything,” says Julie. “Being egg producers, I thought it was a smart idea to smoke an egg.”
Julie began experimenting with eggs in the smoker, but it took two years of trial and error before she produced something that could be used. When she did, the first smoked egg was used to make a quiche. The result? A beautifully smoky quiche with incredible depth of flavour.
But the more important discovery was that smoking the egg stopped it from ageing, meaning a much longer shelf life and improved food safety. Eggs are often linked to cases of salmonella.
Fast-forward to 2019 and The Smoked Egg Company has taken steps towards getting the world patent on their cold-smoking technique, which they presented to a global audience of investors, buyers and leaders in the food tech space at Seeds&Chips – The Global Food Innovation Summit in Milan last May.
Joining the Australia stand at the event, the Kos’s business had a strong base from which to showcase their smoked eggs and speak to investors. They even got the eggs onto the menu in a VIP Lounge at the event, where delegates could try them scrambled.
“They were saying ‘I’d never have thought of this combination’, ‘This is amazing’, they were really quite surprised,” Julie says.
The event also put The Smoked Egg Company in front of new international markets such as Nigeria, joining existing clients in the United States, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Canada and Japan. Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, who is also an egg producer, has invited The Smoked Egg Company to Nigeria to discuss the possibility of licensing the technology.
Until recently, licensing its IP to overseas companies has been the main form of international trade for The Smoked Egg Company. But with an export license approved in April 2019, the business is now on the cusp of being able to distribute its own egg products, such as failsafe mayonnaise. The mayonnaise has already turned heads among global industry leaders.
The smoked eggs also hold a solution to food waste, with testing on the eggs showing them to be free of bacteria after 18 weeks. That means the eggs can be stored for longer by everyone from consumers to retailers, who are often forced to dump any stock that’s past its best-before date.
With their business opportunities expanding overseas, Julie and Paul can’t speak highly enough of attending international business events such as Seeds&Chips and Gulfood.
“People who have got a quality product need to look outside the square,” Kos says. “I never would have dreamt this would have happened to me six months ago.”
Anyone who is curious to try the eggs can catch The Smoked Egg Company in the Innovation Precinct at Global Table, where the company will have a stand.
Applications are open now for the Innovation Precinct at Global Table, where businesses with innovative solutions for the whole food supply chain will be on show. Find out more