Egg shortages could continue for another year according to farmer

Fears egg shortage could last another year: Farmer says Ukraine war, rising energy bills and bird flu outbreak are piling pressure on the industry as production is down by nearly a quarter from 2022

  • Egg production in England and Wales has tumbled  2.9% within three months
  • Llyr Jones’ feed bills have risen from £30,000 to £50,000 since Ukraine invasion

A farmer has warned that shoppers may continue to see a shortage of eggs on the shelves for another year as the industry battles pressure on several fronts. 

Llyr Jones, who’s 32,000 hens supply the UK’s largest supermarket, Tesco, said that many farmers have left the industry off the back of a rise in energy bills, a bird flu outbreak, the invasion of Ukraine and less of a desire for caged hens. 

Supermarkets have been putting limits on the number of eggs shoppers can buy as numbers dwindle, with Asda and Lidl both only allowing customers to buy two boxes and three boxes respectively.

Egg production in the first three months of 2023 is down by nearly a quarter when compared to the same period of 2022, according to data released by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). 

And the figures reveal that egg production is down by 2.9% in England in Wales within the three-month period to 121 million dozen, the BBC reports. 

But egg imports have risen by 11% compared to the same period last year. 

A number of supermarkets are limiting the amount of boxes shoppers can buy while stocks are low

Egg production figures have tumbled by 2.9% in just three months

Llyr Jones has said UK shoppers should expect to see egg stocks low until next year

Mr Jones’ feed bills have also soared, going from £30,000 a month to £50,000, thanks to the invasion of Ukraine – which is one of the world’s largest producers of bird feed.

In comments made to the BBC, Mr Jones said: ‘A lot of farmers decided not to re-stock and that then put pressure on the market and the price of eggs was forced up.’

He called for patience from the public on when exactly eggs would arrive back on supermarket shelves, pointing out that farmers are finally starting to re-stock flocks, however it may be another year before stocks are fully replenished.

 ‘Now, this year, egg prices have increased for us as farmers and thankfully our costs have started to fall a bit, so we’re having to recuperate the money that we lost last year,’ he added.

‘So, you’re nearly a year until a farmer, from when he’s empty, to when he can produce eggs. Now egg prices have gone up, some farmers are buying hens in now, but those eggs won’t be on the market for another year,

‘So, just bear with us for a bit.’

A spokesperson for the British Retail Consortium (BRC) told MailOnline: ‘Supermarkets source, and will continue to source, the vast majority of their food from the UK and know they need to pay a sustainable price to farmers. 

‘Given the pressure on British farmers at the moment, retailers are paying more for their produce. However, retailers are also facing additional costs and are working incredibly hard to limit price increases for consumers during a cost-of-living crisis where many people are struggling to afford the essentials.’ 

About 70 leading members of the food industry, including Clarkson’s Farm star Caleb Cooper (pictured left) met with prime minister Rishi Sunak as part of the government’s ‘Farm to Fork’ summit on Tuesday

Tesco has said that it has started to sell more white eggs due to the supply chain issues

Tesco reported in February that it was starting to sell more white eggs due to the supply chain issues.

White eggs have been part of the grocer’s standard egg range since 2020, as the demand for eggs boomed by 30% during the pandemic, but shoppers are now starting to see them more regularly in boxes.

Egg consumption in general is growing in the UK by about 3% a year, according to Mr Jones.

‘We’re in a cost of living crisis so eggs are one of the cheapest proteins you can buy at the moment,’ he said.

On Tuesday, approximately 70 leading members of the food industry met with prime minister Rishi Sunak as part of the government’s ‘Farm to Fork’ summit.

It was confirmed that new reviews will begin in the Autumn in the eggs and horticulture sectors to help to support the sector.

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