UK egg traders starting the year with the Lion quality mark on their eggs will be in a stronger position to fend off competition from cheap imports in the retail sector. Lion eggs make up 70% of UK retail volumes. The remaining business, most of it outside the major multiples, would be harder to sell into, partly because of the number and diversity of outlets involved. But surviving spot traders know that unmarked cage eggs from Holland or Belgium can be 45% or 30% cheaper respectively than home produced eggs ­ even allowing 2p a dozen for transport and administration. And that is comparing UK medium with Continental large grades. Many of these eggs will go into processing and are not really retail product by UK visual standards. But while Sterling remains strong, French and Benelux egg producers see a tempting market offering a substantial margin over what they can earn in their domestic trade. The Lion, once dropped with barely a word said, has made a belated but welcome return to remind shoppers what the British egg industry delivers to its customers. {{PROVISIONS }}