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The UK’s top 20 egg producers and packers had a collective turnover of just over £1bn in their most recently published accounts, an increase of 1.4% year on year.

However, together they suffered an operating loss of £20.3m – a reversal from the £27.4m profit of the previous year.

The pain was even more severe among the top 10 companies, which ran at an operating loss of £22.6m for the most recent year.

And of the 40 British Lion Accredited egg companies, only 20 earned enough to be eligible to file their accounts through Companies House.

Market leader Noble Foods, whose £283m turnover makes it double the size of its nearest peer Stonegate Farmers, took the biggest hit. It saw a £32.6m loss, an increase on the previous year’s £30m loss.

But it wasn’t bad news for everyone. Glenrath Farms had a solid operating profit of £4.1m, which one industry expert attributed to it being “well-funded”. Ready Egg delivered £9.4m, but also plays in prepared egg products.

Most egg companies are family-owned and file their accounts as late as possible, which indicates it is a very “distressed” sector, the expert adds.

While the account dates differ, most are reported from 2021. The expert predicts the next accounts will show a similar picture.

How long before eggs crack under the pressure? Eggs category report 2023