UK could soon face egg shortages unless retail price increases, says British Egg Industry Council

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2 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland

Egg stocks could soon be depleted in supermarkets across the UK, according to the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC), as egg farmers struggle to cover rising production costs influenced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Recently published data from the BEIC reveals production costs have gone up by 30%, with farmers losing money on every egg they produce.

Feed prices have increased by almost 50% over the past two years according to the BEIC. Around 25 to 30p has been added per dozen eggs since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war in February 2022.

Energy prices have also gone up by 40%, with wholesale costs of gas from suppliers now 250% more than they were at the beginning of 2021. Costs for packaging, transport and labour – coming as a result of labour shortages – have also increased.

The rise in prices has left many egg farmers with no choice but to halt production, causing a decline in hen flock numbers, which have already decreased by nearly four million in a year.

The nation’s egg industry is already facing pressure to meet consumer demands as British free-range eggs had to be removed from supermarket shelves in March 2022 in an attempt to curb one of the country’s largest outbreaks of avian influenza.

Andrew Joret, Chairman of the British Egg Industry Council, said in a statement: “The tidal wave of cost increases will see many family farms, some of which have been producing eggs for generations, going under in a matter of days, unless something is done quickly.

“The situation was unsustainable prior to the terrible war, but feed prices have accelerated dramatically in a way never before seen and farmers cannot absorb these costs and carry on with a viable business.

Ten years ago, you might typically have paid £1.35 for 6 medium eggs, which today often cost less than £1 which is a third of the price of a barista coffee. Eggs are one of the most undervalued natural whole foods; packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. They provide the whole family with nutritious meals at a fraction of the cost of some other proteins.”

The BEIC has written to several major supermarkets in the country calling for an urgent response to the situation if a disruption to the supply of British eggs is to be avoided.

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