Consumers can expect to pay up to 20p/doz more for their eggs in supermarkets in the coming months, as the shortage of eggs filters through to the shop shelf.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, NFU poultry board chairman Charles Bourns said he had heard of one store that had recently raised the price of 18 cage eggs from £1.25 to £1.58/doz.
“Increases in costs, particularly feed, means most free-range producers are losing money,” he is quoted as saying. “They need an increase of 5p-6p/doz to be getting a fair price.
“In theory, that would reflect through to an increase of 12p-20p/doz in the shops.”
Poultry World’s own retail price data confirm that prices have increased in retailers, with large eggs up from £2.98/doz in December to £3.36p/doz in February, though there is still some heavy discounting going on. For example, Happy Eggs are available in Asda at just £2/doz for large or medium.
The Daily Mail cites the ban on conventional cages and the rising costs for free-range eggs for the firmer retail market.
The Scottish Egg Producer Retailers Association also point to the rapidly firming wholesale market, in its weekly market report, reflecting the lack of cage egg available.
“We have reports of processors paying £1/doz for free-range seconds and buying pallets of bargain price eggs in supermarkets – Asda in England have an offer of an 18 pack for £1.50,” it says.
Continental egg prices are also climbing rapidly. French cake-makers are complaining of a national shortage of eggs and rocketing prices, following the introduction of the conventional cage ban on 1 January.
France is now suffering a shortfall of 21 million eggs a week, or 10% of overall production, the National Union of Egg Industries and Professionals said in a statement.
As a result, egg prices shot up 75% between October last year and February, with a potential knock-on effect on the cost of pastries and cakes.