Recession scrambles organic egg sales

The full damage of the credit crunch on organic egg production has been revealed in new statistics published by DEFRA, while free range continues to grow.

Free-range egg expansion in the UK continues to roll ahead with output up by 840,000 cases in the first nine months of 2009. This was a rise of 14% compared with 2008, although a large part of this has been organic producers reverting back to free range.

The organic sector was down 300,000 cases during January-September. From its peak of 371,000 cases in the second quarter of 2008, packing station throughput has seen a disastrous drop of 34% in the space of just over a year. That still leaves a net gain for free range of over half a million cases.

Back in the summer, latest figures on overall organic poultry numbers showed a 2% year-on-year decline to the end of 2008. Organic Farmers and Growers explained at that time that the dip was due to cost-conscious shoppers looking to cheaper alternatives to organic eggs and chicken.

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