Dried egg powder or powdered eggs can be made in several ways, but often they are nothing more than a dehydrated version of natural chicken eggs. Their consistency has been compared to that of other powdered foods like dried milk powder, and variations on using the entire egg include dried egg yolks and dried egg whites. Other forms of dried egg powder include vegan egg powder that can be made from tofu, bananas, or a flax seed-based egg replacement mix.
The history of widespread use of dried egg powder can be traced back to 1942 during the period of World War II in the UK. Though the product was produced in the US and sold to the UK to facilitate wartime rationing programs, it was not very popular and quickly fell out of fashion with the end of the war. The product has several advantages over traditional eggs, however, that has kept it on grocery shelves into the 21st century. One advantage is that dried egg powder has a much longer shelf life than ordinary eggs, with estimates that, if stored in a sealed container, it can be safe to eat for as long as five to nine years later. Dried eggs also take up much less storage space than regular eggs, and don't have to be refrigerated.
Since dried egg powder is a concentrated form of protein in an easily measurable form, the product is also popular with body builders and athletes who must have a larger than normal amount of protein in their daily diet. Not all dried eggs have an equivalent level of protein, however, because some formulas are mixed with dried milk powder and vegetable oil, referred to as dried egg mix. This adds a bit of flavor to it that makes the material suitable for camping, drink, and recipe mixes.
The invention of dried egg powder can be traced back to the late 1930s, where a process of freeze drying was utilized to produce it. The eggs are dried in a spray dryer that is also used to create powdered milk. The first manufacturing plants for powdered eggs were set up in Singapore where a large number of regular eggs were being shipped from China for export to the US and UK at the time. These facilities were later transferred to Argentina, and, as World War II pulled in the US, similar plants for creating dried eggs were set up there.