The UK’s largest egg packer has warned of egg shortages this Christmas unless farmers receive a further price rise.
Noble Foods says the crisis for the UK’s egg farmers is deepening daily as price pressure continues to cripple them with the increasing cost of feed for laying hens.
Half of the cost of keeping hens is the cost of wheat and Soya contained within the feed. Wheat has gone up in price by over 60% in the last two months and has more than doubled in price during the year.
Soya too has seen prices escalate by almost 60% in the year.
Marketing director for Noble Foods Finn Cottle says these next few weeks are critical.
Faced with major price increases, she says, the egg packing industry is worried that egg farmers will drop out of the market and turn instead to other types of farming such as arable.
“The pressure on egg farmers is increasing at an unprecedented rate.”
“We are heading for a seasonal peak in egg demand – sales of eggs normally increase by 50% in the run up to Christmas – and fulfilling that demand will become an issue.”
“A number of producers have already cancelled pullets and are leaving houses empty, threatening the supply of eggs for the winter season and Christmas.
“It could be the first time since the war that we are restricted in supply.”
She believes that while egg pricing to the consumer will have to immediately increase by more than 30%, eggs will remain the most affordable nutritious food stuff in the UK.
“50p for two large free range eggs still deliver a protein packed meal for one. That’s unbeatable value.”
This latest warning comes days after the NFU and the National Pig Association joined forces in calling for sustainable prices for the pig and poultry sectors in the wake of the rising feed prices.