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Source: Noble Foods 

Accounts posted at Companies House for Noble Foods Ltd showed an operating loss of £10.9m for the year to 30 September 2022

Happy Egg Co owner Noble Foods fell to another significant loss of almost £11m in 2022 amid a “challenging year” for the egg sector.

Accounts posted at Companies House for Noble Foods Ltd – which includes its egg and agricultural businesses – showed an operating loss of £10.9m for the year to 30 September 2022. Turnover, meanwhile, fell by 4.8% to £269.1m.

In its previous accounts, the business posted an even higher operating loss of £32.6m, driven by a softening of demand following the pandemic-driven boom in eggs sales. Noble Foods also suffered property impairments and one-off costs, including its exit from colony egg production.

The company’s latest accounting period ended just as the egg sector was plunged into a supply crisis caused by a slump in returns to producers, who were forced to either halt or rein back production volumes. This led to many months of sporadic egg supply in the mults, starting from last November.

Egg supplies had since started to recover – though the supplier stressed it was still operating in “a highly challenging period marked by volatility and inflation across several key inputs”, the supplier said.

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A spokesman for Noble Foods pointed out the loss in 2021/2022 was “markedly reduced” ­versus the previous year.

“As the business realigned to a reduced footprint, our operational performance met expectations,” he added.

“Further exceptional one-off items were recorded, but at a significantly lower level than the year prior. “This restructuring, including the closure of the business’ Standlake site, together with the refinancing of the wider Noble Group, puts the business in a strong and sustainable position to continue investing for the future.”

Noble stressed the results of the Noble Group’s other businesses, including milling, poultry, and added-value, were also reported separately and not included in the results. 

It comes as analysis of the egg market by The Grocer in January revealed the challenging circumstances facing major egg suppliers, with the top 20 egg producers and packers registered to the British Egg industry Council turning over a combined £1 billion in sales but also making a collective loss of £20.3m in their most recent accounts, driven by chronic low returns and soaring costs.