Source: BFREPA 

Hundreds of producers face bankruptcy as the Ukraine war pushes feed prices through the roof

The British Egg Industry Council has warned “uncontrollable input costs” will jeopardise the country’s egg supply unless retailers take “urgent action” to increase prices.

“Unless something is done”, warned BEIC CEO Andrew Joret this week, a “tidal wave of cost increases” would lead to hundreds of family farms going out of business, putting the availability of eggs in shops “seriously under threat”.

Joret said with input costs up 30%, farmers could no longer afford to see eggs “undervalued” and called on supermarkets to pass costs on.

The British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFEPRA) echoed these concerns, and demanded retailers “immediately” up the price of a dozen eggs by 40p “to avert catastrophe in the sector”.

Farmers had been “cut adrift” by shop prices that were lower than a decade ago, producers claimed.

BFREPA CEO Robert Gooch said his organisation had in recent months “contacted Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Waitrose, Lidl, Aldi and Marks & Spencer” about the cost crisis. “Not a single reply was received,” he said.

Free-range egg producers in ‘dire’ situation as new bird flu labelling rules come in

Suffolk-based free-range farmer Dan Brown said feed costs were up by 40% and energy by 60%, meaning he was “probably losing about 2-2.5 pence on every egg laid on the farm”. 

Egg farmers had been hampered further by what the government said was the country’s worst-ever bird flu outbreak. Last week producers lost free-range status after a bird flu lockdown meant they had to keep hens indoors beyond the permitted 16-week period allowed for retention of the status.

According to the BEIC, “feed increases are at the forefront of the surge in costs” and had been “exacerbated by the war in Ukraine”.

“The cost of feed for egg laying birds is now £400 per tonne, up around 50% over the past two years, and is expected to rise even further with Russia and Ukraine being major exporters of key raw materials used in the feed,” the BEIC warned. 

The war-related cost hikes came on the back of “never-before-seen cost increases right across the supply chain from pullets to energy, and well-reported labour shortages”, the BEIC said.