British egg producers are warning for possible shortages as UK farmers struggle with the uncertainty surrounding bird flu, resulting in some downsizing their flocks and even leaving the industry.
This comes as a third of UK farmers surveyed by trade body the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA) revealed they had cut the number of hens in their flock due to egg prices resulting in them being unable to cover their costs.
Some 165 farmers added that they have also either temporarily or permanently ceased production.
This comes as according to the BFREPA, average prices of eggs have increased by 45p, however, only a quarter of that, between 9p to 10p have been passed on to farmers, which is not enough to cover higher costs.
As a result, shoppers at Lidl, Sainsbury’s and Aldi have been warned about egg shortages, with some customers claiming they have been unable to buy the products for “weeks” in stores.
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According to the British Egg Industry Council, cost pressures have led to a temporary reduction in the size in British flocks. It is also expecting numbers of hens to increase again as cost pressures ease.
In a statement, the British Egg Industry Council said: “These include hens lost as a result of avian flu; cost of production rises, which mean that producers are struggling to break even; a reduction in the number of colony hens as retailers move towards cage free; and strong demand from consumers.”
The news comes as egg farmer Ioan Humphreys has called out supermarkets for “not paying egg farmers”, instead blaming avian flu on the shortages of eggs on the shelves.
Taking to social media, Humphreys posted a video contradicting supermarket claims that egg shortages are occurring due to avian flu, stating that retailers are raising prices for the customer but not paying enough for farmers to continue producing eggs.