Trouble ahead for British free-range eggs
August 30, 2018
Free range egg producers in the UK may cease to exist if the spate of increased feed costs is not controlled.
The UK poultry feed often comes from the wheat grown in European countries and recent bad weather has affected their yields, driving feed costs up by as much as 50%. The price increase is having an unsustainable effect on free-range egg producers, and if the cost of free range eggs is not increased, the effect will be unbearable for the UK producers. In July, the market conditions were partly to blame for driving 17 producers out of business due to the jump in feed costs which eroded their small margin from profit, into a loss. These closures will result in a higher demand for free range eggs from the remaining producers in the UK.
Short term, producers should consider looking further afield to countries who have not been affected by the recent dry weather and could offer cheaper alternative feed. Additionally, wholesalers and retailers will need to work with the producers, offering contracts which link feed prices to the cost of eggs – without this, we will face more producers going out of business, and ultimately a national shortage of British free-range eggs.