Chickens and other egg-laying creatures are kept widely throughout the world and mass production of chicken eggs is a global industry. In 2009, an estimated 62.1 million metric tons of eggs were produced worldwide from a total laying flock of approximately 6.4 billion hens.
Egg yolks and whole eggs store significant amounts of protein and choline and are widely used in cookery. Due to their protein content, the United States Department of Agriculture formerly categorized eggs as Meats within the Food Guide Pyramid (now MyPlate).
Eggs may be soaked in mixtures to absorb flavor. Tea eggs, a common snack sold from street-side carts in China, are steeped in a brew from a mixture of various spices, soy sauce, and black tea leaves to give flavor.