Each time the prices of vegetables or fish shoot up, eggs replace them in the kitchens of Chennaiites. On an average, the city consumes around 50-55 lakh daily.

Except on Fridays and Saturdays, the sales of eggs increase up to 10 per cent when the cost of other food items goes up. People prefer eggs as they are easily available, relatively cheaper than other non-vegetarian items and simple and quick to cook, say officials of National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC), Chennai zone.

NECC's zonal chairman A. Mohan Reddy said that in the past two years, the volume of eggs sold has gone up by 15 per cent in Chennai. The city's wholesalers mainly source them from Namakkal. About 10 lakh eggs come from Chittoor district. There are about 60 wholesalers in the trade and over 1,200 retail traders in Chennai.

M.V. Somaraman, a wholesaler said that on Wednesday, an egg was sold at Rs.2.62 in the wholesale market. The retailers sold them for Rs. 3-Rs. 3.25 according to the locality. In December, eggs were priced at Rs.3.20 each in the wholesale market.

In the city, several local markets sell eggs of country chicken in small numbers and those who have tasted them in the villages, seem to prefer them.

Veterinarian A. Chandrasekar said that country chicken eggs cost Rs. 6-7 each. “Though these bran-coloured eggs weigh only around 40 grams each, consumers believe that they have more nutritional value. The regular egg weighs 50-60 grams.” The market has also been witnessing a lot of branded eggs.

Officials of the NECC said that in winter, the cost escalates due to shortage of 15 per cent as eggs are diverted to north India where the consumption doubles. The Tamil month of Purattasi and the Ayyappa season witness a dip of 25 per cent in egg consumption.

While it is recommended that an individual must eat 180 eggs per year, the average annual consumption of a person is only 50.

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