British free-range poultry farmers are urging supermarkets to increase the price of a dozen eggs by 40p as the smaller producers face collapse.
The warning comes as production costs have risen due to soaring fuel and energy prices coupled with the extra expenses from keeping hens indoors amid the bird flu outbreak.
Last week, customers were no longer able to purchase free-range eggs in supermarkets as British hens had been kept indoors the past four months, sheltered from the avian flu outbreak.
“The 16-week grace period we allowed for free-range eggs has now been exceeded, and eggs must now be marketed as ‘barn eggs’,” a spokesperson from Defra explained.
As a result, the availability of British eggs on shelves have been “seriously under threat” if prices couldn’t be passed on, the chair of the British Egg Industry Council Andrew Joret said.
“The tidal wave of cost increases will see many family farms, some of which have been producing eggs for generations, going under in a matter of days, unless something is done quickly,” Joret added.
Additionally, the war in Ukraine has added to production costs with a 50% increase in feed which and contributed an extra 30p to a dozen eggs.
The British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) CEO Robert Gooch warned that famers have become desperate as retailers including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Waitrose, Lidl, Aldi and Marks & Spencer have not responded to their calls.