A number of egg organisations representing both cage and free-range egg producers have joined egg packer Noble Foods in warning that the sector could see a shortage of eggs this Christmas if there isn’t an immediate rise in egg prices.
Last week, Noble Foods made the stark warning as its producer faced rising feed prices.
But today, the British Egg Association, Stoneleigh Farmers Group of Cage Egg Producers, British Free Range Egg Producers Association and National Egg Marketing Association have added their weight to calls for a price rise.
In a joint statement, they warned that without an immediate significant increase in egg prices, there is a real threat that farmers will choose to leave their laying houses empty.
With feed accounting for around half the cost of egg production, egg producers need to receive an extra 20p per dozen eggs immediately to cover the extra costs.
“The dramatic increases in feed costs are crippling farmers and they need a quick return to profitability if the UK egg supply base is to be sustained in time to supply eggs for Christmas and into next year,” said Andrew Joret, chairman of the British Egg Association, which represents UK egg producers.
John Holes, of the Stoneleigh Farmers Group of Cage Egg Producers, added that “Members were now desperate and many are making decisions not to place chicks for new flocks. This will inevitably cause supply problems for Christmas and beyond.
“Caged eggs in the rest of Europe are also in very tight supply and producers are facing the same problems with feed costs. If this situation is not turned around quickly there will be shortages of supply as members make decisions not to produce rather than lose money.”
Tom Vesey, chairman of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association warned that it was the same picture with free-range producers.